Pride Started as a Riot
June 1, 2020
Pride started as a riot and that riot continues today.
As we kick off Pride month, we recognize that June 1 is the start of National Indigenous History Month in Canada. We also recognize that our ability to claim a space for celebration cannot continue without struggle and solidarity.
Indigenous and Black communities around the world, already disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, regularly face attacks from white supremacists and are subjected to violence at the hands of police.
It’s a story that continues to be played out for the world to see and one that many Indigenous and Black members of Hamilton’s Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities both know well and have been speaking out about for decades.
The voices of these communities, and others, have continued to be ignored despite the escalation of violence in Hamilton. Not only did ignoring this result in the violence at last year’s Pride event but it earned our city the apt moniker of Canada’s “hate capital”.
Communities, still grieving and processing trauma, continue to be ignored as they wait for the results of a long overdue independent review of Pride 2019 that was commissioned by the Hamilton Police Services Board.
As is too often the case, the valid concerns raised by Hamilton’s Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities about policing and Pride are not being taken seriously.
In the spirit of continued transparency, we think it’s important for us to continue to be clear about where we stand:
Pride Hamilton is committed to ensuring that our spaces don’t prop up the violence that many associate with police, their uniforms, and their weapons. Uniformed and armed police are not welcome as any part of our Pride celebrations, displays of solidarity, or public messages.
Bullet proof vests, military style uniforms, guns, tear gas, pepper spray, and other tools and symbols of violence are used by police to repress, intimidate, and cause harm. They are not images of celebration. They are weapons of state-sanctioned violence against Indigenous and Black communities.
Pride Hamilton will continue to stand in solidarity with Two Spirit, Indigenous, Black, and LGBTQIA+ communities.