June 26, 2010

Colour of Change Network on Toronto Pride

Colour of Change Network - a very welcome reversal of position with regard to the leadership of PRIDE Toronto having earlier fallen prey to aggressive lobbying on the part of politically motivated interests to shut down voices of equity, human rights and social justice - in pursuit as they were of very troubling agendas of intolerance largely against members of the Arab Canadian and Canadian Muslim communities. As to some extent the PRIDE Board has effectively "passed the buck" - can we now look forward to the City of Toronto itself showing similar conviction - in honouring its stated and institutionalized commitment to REAL equity, inclusion and human rights - to formally acknowledge and recognize that the freedoms of opinion, expression and assembly are all fundamental to a healthy community, vital city and equitable and inclusive society !!

See the PRIDE Toronto media release below - michael

See - http://www.pridetoronto.com/press/pride-toronto-to-no-longer-restrict-language-in-the-parade/

Pride Toronto to no longer restrict language in the Parade

For Immediate Release

23 June 2010

Pride Toronto to no longer restrict language in the Parade

Pride Toronto has announced that its recent resolution to restrict the use of certain language during the 2010 Parade has been replaced by the requirement that each participating group read, sign and agree to abide by the City of Toronto's Declaration of a Non-Discrimination Policy, and that all groups that uphold this policy are welcome to participate in the 2010 Pride Parade.

During a meeting between members of the board of directors, the executive director and well respected LGBT community leaders Pastor Brent Hawkes of the Metropolitan Community Church, human rights lawyer and Pride Lifetime Achievement award winner Doug Elliott, and 519 Executive Director Maura Lawless, the board unanimously voted in favour of a proposal presented by the three.

The proposal is two-fold: The purpose in the short term is to resolve the impasse that the organization has found itself in since moving to disallow the term ‘Israeli Apartheid' in the Parade, based on complaints from community members and the assertion by the City of Toronto that the phrase contravenes various City policies. The decision caused widespread dissatisfaction in the queer community and allegations of censorship.

The first motion places the responsibility for determining a violation of City policy back in the hands of the City, as our review process has not established that violation. The second motion establishes a representative advisory panel of community leaders that will lead a broad based community consultation process with diverse queer communities to recommend a set of strategic principles and a decision-making framework that will help shape future festivals.

"We are extremely grateful to the community leaders that took the time to work on this proposal and help us examine ways to resolve this impasse," says Pride senior co-chair Genevieve D'Iorio. "The Board's intention has always been to make the best decision possible to ensure the success of Pride and we believe that this proposal is a really constructive way forward."

"There are a large number of people that are sad at the way the community is currently torn over this issue," says Pastor Brent Hawkes. "Pride has found itself in the middle of a difficult situation and we felt it was time to step in and see how we could help."

Doug Elliott agrees. Recently during a keynote address at the Law Society of Upper Canada's Pride Event, Elliott spoke out about the history of Pride and the way it has changed over the years. "It's not always possible to meet everyone's demands," he says, noting that some of the demands Pride has experienced are ‘unrealistic'. "This solution upholds City policy without unfairly requiring Pride to interpret that policy regarding a controversial legal question. Hopefully this will allow a harmonious Parade this year, while a consultative process unfolds to allow community members to have their say in a constructive way about the future rules for the Parade and the ongoing relationship between Pride Toronto and the broader LGBTTIQQ2SA communities."

In a recent press release The 519 called for public consultation and offered its support and resources to help find a resolution. Lawless stated "This proposal reinforces how important it is that the diverse queer communities help shape the future of Pride and I think the Board has shown great courage and foresight in committing to consultation and planning for the future."

The two motions comprising the proposal are as follows:

That the board of directors approve the following resolutions:

1. Be it resolved that the motion of May 21st regarding language restrictions of groups participating in the 2010 Pride parade be replaced by the requirement that each participating group read and sign and confirm to abide by the City of Toronto's Declaration of a Non-Discrimination Policy and that all groups that uphold this policy are welcome to participate in the 2010 Pride Parade. Any groups that refuse to sign will not be permitted to participate.

2. Be it resolved that Pride Toronto appoint a panel of LGBTTIQQ2SA leaders and friends to recommend a policy to protect and advance the qualities of Pride and ensure it is true to its core values and principles. The mandate of the group would be to consult with the community to develop recommendations to ensure a Pride that values and promotes freedom of speech and individual expression, inclusiveness and respect, pluralism and diversity, equity and fairness, celebration, humour and fun, and to make recommendations regarding Pride Toronto's ongoing working relationship with the broader LGBTTIQQ2SA communities.

Over the coming days, Parade participants will receive a copy of the City's Anti-Discrimination Policy with a request to sign and return it ahead of the Parade. Meanwhile, the team at Pride Toronto will be working hard to finalize arrangements for the 30th anniversary festival and we look forward to the community coming together to celebrate what Pride means to each one as an individual.

About Pride Toronto:
Pride Toronto is the not-for-profit organization that hosts Pride Week, an annual festival held during the first weekend of July in downtown Toronto. Pride Toronto exists to celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto's LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities and is one of the leading cultural events of its kind in the world with a total economic benefit in 2009 of $136 million.
Toronto's Pride Week has been named Best Festival in Canada by the Canadian Special Events Industry in 2004, 2005 and 2009, and is recognized as one of only eight Signature Events in the City of Toronto. It is ranked one of the TOP 50 festivals in Ontario by Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) as well as one of the 18 Marquee Festivals of Distinction in Canada. With attendance of over 1.2 million, it is the third largest Pride celebration in the world and the largest in North America. For media accreditation for the festival, please visit http://www.pridetoronto.com.
* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited and Allies

For more information:
Michael Ain
Marketing and Communications Manager, Pride Toronto
416.927.7433 ext. 226

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular stories