Vancouver police reach deal to march in Pride parade
The Vancouver Police Department and the Vancouver Pride Society have reached an agreement that will allow officers to march in the Aug. 6 Pride Parade.
Black Lives Matter Vancouver asked the VPD last summer to voluntarily withdraw from the parade, an event police have taken part in every year since 2002, as “a show of solidarity and understanding” because the presence of uniformed officers makes some minority groups feel unsafe.
The request came shortly after Black Lives Matter in Toronto blocked that city’s parade until organizers agreed to demands that included barring police floats.
The VPD members will march in the parade as part of the City of Vancouver entry, which also includes staff and officials from the city, Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver park board, firefighters and first responders.
The majority of the VPD representatives will wear T-shirts, with only 20 per cent of the contingent marching in full uniforms. There will also be no marked police vehicles or sirens used in this year’s parade.
The Pride society says the compromise was reached after 10 months of consultations with the police and community groups.
“What we heard from some queer Indigenous people, queer black folks, members of the trans community and LGBTQ2+ people of colour that they do not always feel safe around police, and that policing organizations — like other public institutions, businesses and community organizations — still have work to do when it comes to being more inclusive, and building trust with marginalized communities. We also heard support for the police to participate and appreciation for the work they have done to date to engage with community and break down barriers,” the pride society said today in a Facebook post.
The VPD have also agreed to participate in Pride society-facilitated “listening circles.”