Black Lives Matter to be grand marshal for Vancouver Dyke March 2016

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      The Vancouver Dyke March and Festival announced today (July 8) that Black Lives Matter Vancouver will be the grand marshal for their 13th annual march.

      The VDMF issued a statement explaining why they chose BLM Vancouver:

      "In light of recent events in Orlando and Toronto, we believe it is more important than ever to ensure that queer spaces in Vancouver are open and welcoming to trans, queer, and allied Black, Indigenous folks and people of colour. The Dyke March is committed to striving for inclusivity and accountability to all members and allies of our community and we are proud to have Black Lives Matter Vancouver leading the march with us this year."

      The VDMF board is seeking to establish solidarity with queer people of colour.

      “As a white queer person I have experienced marginalization, and I think that experience should open our eyes, and hearts, to the even greater marginalization of queer folks of colour,” VDMF board member Christine Osgood stated. “Black Lives Matter has been instrumental in bringing that conversation to the forefront of this year’s Pride celebrations.”

      VDMF board member Elizabeth Cameron added: “The historical purpose of the Dyke March is to centre marginalized voices within the queer community, so we’re making it a point to step back and listen.”

      Board member Catherine Mateo drew attention back to the origins of Pride.

      “Pride sprang from the political activism of queer folks before us, led predominantly by trans women of color," she stated. "Having Black Lives Matter lead the March now makes more sense than ever.”

      The East Vancouver event takes place on July 30. It will begin at 12 p.m. at McSpadden Park and will travel along Commercial Drive to head to Grandview Park, where the festival will be held from 1 to 5 p.m.

      The activist movement Black Lives Matter made headlines when the Toronto chapter blocked the Toronto Pride parade for 30 minutes on July 3 and refused to move until Toronto Pride executive director Mathieu Chantelois signed an agreement that listed their demands.

      Their demands included a removal of police floats and booths in the parade and an increase in black and indigenous representation among Pride staff.