Vancouver Pride apologizes for not banning police from its parades sooner
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Pride Society says it regrets not banning uniformed police officers from marching in its parades earlier than it did and is apologizing to racialized LGBTQ+ community members.
The society was set to host a panel discussion on defunding the police on Tuesday, but cancelled the event after feedback from community members.
But, it’s not because the board and organization is backing down from its advocacy against policing and criminalization.
“It has been brought to our attention that it is inappropriate for Vancouver Pride Society to be hosting our scheduled Defund the Police panel discussion tomorrow without first addressing past harms,” reads a statement posted to Vancouver Pride’s website on April 12.
Starting in 2016, members of Black Lives Matter Vancouver asked the society to reduce and ultimately stop police participation in the parade. Although the society made changes – such as only allowing police to march in civilian clothes – it did not fully ban police from participating until June 2020.
“We want to first publicly acknowledge, apologize and hold ourselves accountable for the past harms done to the original members of Black Lives Matter Vancouver and other racialized community members who were and continue to be impacted by the actions of Vancouver Pride Society,” the statement continues.
“We owe our deepest and sincerest apologies to members who were harmed or silenced by our decisions and regret that we didn’t ban police from marching in the parade earlier than we did.”
CTV News Vancouver has reached out to Black Lives Matter Vancouver for comment and will update this story if it hears back.
The pride society also outlines a number of actions its board and staff are taking to remain accountable to queer and trans Black, Indigneous and people of colour.
It also apologizes for not being a better ally to Black Lives Matter members, and says it hopes to engage in an accountability process with them.
“We apologize that we were not a strong, vocal ally who could have borne some of the backlash that BLM-Vancouver members faced over the years.”