The pride parade on Whyte Avenue was interrupted by a group of trans people and queer of color, who wanted to make known some of the issues with the Edmonton Pride Festival Society.
“No pride in police”
There were almost 33 protesters, who formed a chain at the intersection as the parade began. They held up the parade floats and chanted “Pride for all,” while carrying signs that wrote “No pride in police” or “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”
Their requests highlighted four important issues that needed a solution:
- They didn’t want to see police or military invited to future parades,
- More people of color or trans should get hired,
- The festival should include more well-funded spaces for trans and colored people,
- Pride history must be acknowledged as a demonstration against police oppression.
Agnieszka Kucharska is the organizer of the protest, stating that:
“Everyone felt strongly that the police should not be welcomed to march in pride because police have done little to seriously address the constant mistreatment of trans people, Indigenous people, black people, people of colour and the homeless community.”
Not Feeling Safe With the EPS, RCMP or Military Marching in the Parade
These demands have been shared by the Pride Society’s members who were present at the parade, and then sent to the Board of Directors. They will put forward a motion and accept them. In a press release, Edmonton Pride Festival wrote:
“EPS, RCMP, and Military will not march in the parade until the community feels that they have taken the necessary steps for all community members to feel safe with their presence.”
Kucharska added that “they weren’t able to remove the police presence from this year but going forward they will definitely remove them until further community conversations happen. It feels very good that we finally feel heard after several attempts of talking with them.”
On June 28, the Pride Society will be holding a community stakeholders meeting.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.