Sudbury Pride will not present a parade after all

Sudbury Pride is reversing its decision and will not hold its parade next month, following outrage from some community members over the police presence.

Law enforcement presence is required to obtain an event permit from the city, as the chosen route requires some traffic control.

Last year’s parade was canceled for similar reasons, but the non-profit’s board of directors wanted to bring the event back this year to increase the visibility of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in a context of rise of hatred across the country.

The decision, however, provoked several reactions. Several community members shared their negative experiences with law enforcement at a Sudbury Pride meeting a few weeks ago.

The organization’s president, Nathan Kanasawe, says the debate over whether or not to hold a parade gave community members an opportunity to talk to each other.

I feel like I’ve talked to more people in the last two weeks than I did in the first two weeks after becoming president. So I think it was really important that everything happened that wayhe said.

In lieu of the parade, Sudbury Pride will host a community gathering in mid-July.

Complex conversations

Nathan Kanasawe mentions that conversations about police at pride events are complicated, with everyone having different experiences with law enforcement.

Some people have never had negative experiences with the police, and others have them regularly he says, adding that he has had both positive and negative experiences in Sudbury and elsewhere.

In a written statement sent Friday, Greater Sudbury Police Service spokesperson Kaitlynn Dunn said understand and respect shared feelings.

Our ultimate goal is to improve these relationships while ensuring public safety during events where a police presence is required.she continues.

Mr Kanasawe believes the decision not to stage the parade ultimately comes down to what is fair and equitable. He hopes that people in the 2SLGBTQ+ community will take advantage of this moment to come together.

Resignations from the board of directors

Three members of the board of directors have left their positions in recent weeks.

The organization’s financial manager, Matthew Morin, resigned Monday. He believes Sudbury Pride should have held the parade, even if police have to be present at intersections.

My personal experience with the police has never been greathe said.

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Former finance executive and Pride Sudbury activist Matthew Morin is pictured at a protest in support of Tarun Godara, a gay Sudbury resident facing deportation to India.

Photo: CBC/Erika Chorostil

But he believes the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, with police providing a barrier between parade participants and potential counter-protesters.

This organization is supposed to be there to protect us. I believe it can be changed through communicationsays Mr. Morin.

Call for more volunteers

The current secretary of Fierté Sudbury, Cory Gaudette, is also considering leaving his position and instead focusing on volunteering and planning events within the organization.

He says he learned a lot throughout this debate.

As we listened to people’s stories, we immediately understood that people did not want the police present for good reasons.

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Cory Gaudette asks the 2SLGBTQ+ community to get involved in the Sudbury Pride organization.

Photo: Radio-Canada

He believes the recent promise to make meetings and decision-making more transparent will pay off.

The community realizes that the board is not all-powerful and we don’t have all the answers, and we really need a lot more helpsays Mr. Gaudette.

There are currently several vacancies on the board of directors and several committees, including a newly formed one focused on security resources at Pride events.

Based on a report by CBC’s Aya Dufour

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