Prior to the City of Vancouver’s official Pride Week proclamation at the new Jim Deva Plaza in the West End today (July 25), Vancouver Pride Society president Alan Jernigan told the Georgia Straight that while they have not met with Black Lives Matter yet, they are planning to meet with them as soon as possible.
Jernigan said that they did meet with the Vancouver Police Department last week. He said the VPD will participate in the parade, which takes place in the West End on Sunday (July 31), but the VPS requested that the police do not include an armoured rescue vehicle.
The inclusion of an armoured vehicle in the parade was one of the concerns listed in BLM-Vancouver’s open letter, dated July 15, to the VPS and VPD. They had requested that the VPD withdraw from the parade, and participate instead in a public-service float that would include firefighters, paramedics, and others.
“Relationship building is something that takes time,” Jernigan said. “We absolutely want to make sure that people feel welcome to attend our events and feel that they are safe in that space and we know that dialogue takes time and effort. We’re excited to get started on that process.”