British Columbia

Black Lives Matter Vancouver joins Dyke March as other groups also sit out Pride

Vancouver's chapter of Black Lives Matter joined the city's Dyke March on Saturday as it and other groups sit out Pride Parade in 2016.

'I'd say this is more of a political event, there's no giant Viagra float," says one participant

Participants at the 2016 Dyke March in Vancouver hold a sign in protest of the police participating in the annual Pride Parade which takes place on Sunday, July 31, 2016. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

The Vancouver chapter of Black Lives Matter joined the city's annual Dyke March on Saturday after vowing to remain separate from the Vancouver Pride Parade because of the way police will be involved in that event on Sunday.

"This is supposed to be a community-based, even a political protest so why are certain groups and big organizations being prioritised over community groups?" said Cicely-Belle Blain, co-founder of BLMV.

Members of Black Lives Matter Vancouver walked in the 2016 Dyke March in Vancouver on Saturday, July 30, 2016 instead of participating in the city's annual Pride Parade. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Dyke March organizer Christine Osgoode says the Dyke March was happy to have Black Lives Matter as part of its event.

"We're definitely a grass roots organization so it does allow us to be more flexible and listen to members of our community and make changes easily," she said.

Marchers like Christa Lee Munro agree that the Dyke March is a good place for people who feel disenfranchised with Pride.

"People say all lives matter but all lives won't matter until Black Lives Matter," said Rev. Dr. Vikki Marie, who describes herself as a Roman Catholic woman Priest from the Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community Society. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

"I'd say this is more of a political event, there's no giant Viagra float like I saw at the Pride parade the other year," she said, while others like Rev. Dr. Vikki Marie added that it's important to recognize BLMV in a meaningful way.

"People say all lives matter but all lives won't matter until Black Lives Matter," she said.

In solidarity with Black Lives Matter Vancouver's protest of the Vancouver Pride Parade for including a police float, queer Muslim group Salaam and queer South Asian group Trikone are also sitting out this year's pride parade.

Dyke March participant Christa Lee Munro calls the event, "more political," than Pride. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Imtiaz Popat, coordinator of the queer Muslim group Salaam, said his group does not feel safe marching in the parade this year due to racist backlash in the wake of the Orlando shooting and the interruption of the Toronto Pride Parade, so the group is holding its own march on Monday called, the Two-Spirit Queers, Trans, Intersexed and Bisexual People of Colour Pride March.

In an open letter posted on its website on July 15, BLMV said it wanted the Vancouver police department to voluntarily withdraw from the parade, saying that officer involvement makes some communities feel unsafe.

Alan Jernigan, president of the Vancouver Pride Society, said while BLMV made a reasonable point, the VPD will still have a presence at the parade this year as they are strong allies of the community.