Pride rally calling for defunding of police held in downtown Toronto

TORONTO — Hundreds of members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and their allies marked Pride on Sunday with a rally calling for the defunding of the police.

The No Pride in Policing Coalition organized the event, which began at Nathan Phillips Square.

The group then marched through downtown streets waving rainbow and trans flags and carrying signs, including one that read, “We must ‘change everything.’ Creating liveable queer, trans and two spirit lives without police and prisons.”

Pride rallyRavyn Wngz with Black Lives Matter Toronto said the rally is to reignite demands to defund the police and ensure that the fight will continue until abolition.

“The truth is when we say to defund the police, we’re talking about reallocating funds into places where communities can have housing, which is a major crisis in this country,” Wngz said.

“So, what we’re talking about is the preservation of life. It’s the safety of our communities. And the police don’t provide that. We provide that for each other. They actually disrupt and cause more harm to our community.”

Another member of the coalition said Pride needs to be political again, which was how it started. Pride parades began as protests against police raids that targeted the LGBTQ2S+ community.

“It is about we saying we must change everything. We must create a different world. We must envision something different that would ensure that we are all cared for,” the member said.

“Police don’t have to be doing mental health checks. Those should be done by the community, people with expertise. Every time police do mental health checks, people get killed. We’ve seen that happen all year. So, our focus must be on ensuring that the money goes to communities to create sustainable, caring communities.”

Also, on Sunday, Toronto held its 40th Pride parade virtually again due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Toronto Mayor John Tory were some of the dignitaries who appeared during the hour-long virtual event.

Pride Toronto organizers said planning is already underway for next year’s in-person Pride parade, which they promised will be bigger and more festive.

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