Black Lives Matter Named Pride Toronto's 2016 Honourary Group
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Black Lives Matter Named Pride Toronto’s 2016 Honourary Group

The advocacy group will help lead this year's Pride Parade.

Black Lives Matter protest on Allen Road  Photo by George Talusan from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Black Lives Matter protest on Allen Road. Photo by George Talusan from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

On July 27, 2015, advocacy group Black Lives Matter shut down a strip of Allen Road, near Eglinton Avenue, in protest of the deaths of two Toronto men. Andrew Loku was one of them; the 45-year-old died at the hands of police just steps away from the protest site 10 days earlier. The activists stood united with placards and megaphones, touting a simple message: Black Torontonians deserve justice.

This June, Black Lives Matter will once again take to the streets—this time, to celebrate. In light of the group’s radical efforts to illuminate issues such as carding and racialized policing, Black Lives Matter will help lead the Pride Parade along Yonge Street as this year’s Honourary Group.

According to Pride Toronto, the recognition of the group will “enable conversations about the intersections of liberation, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.”

Black Lives Matter will also take part in a human rights panel on June 29, presented in partnership with The 519 and the University of Toronto’s Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies.

“Historically, LGBT spaces such as Pride have failed to be fully inclusive of the full spectrum of queer and trans identities, particularly those of the Black, African and Caribbean communities,” Rodney Diverlus, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, says. “We hope to highlight and challenge the ways that anti-blackness is present in LGBT spaces, all the while celebrating the beauty and ferociousness of Black queer, trans, and gender diverse Torontonians.”

This June marks Canada’s first-ever Pride Month. Each year, Pride Toronto selects honourees to recognize for their leadership surrounding issues of human rights, including an Honourary Group, Grand Marshalls, International Grand Marshalls, and Youth Ambassadors.

Pride Month begins June 1.