A Toronto musician named Sima Xyn claimed she tried to buy a Black Lives Matter shirt and make a donation to the group during Toronto Pride week but was refused service because she is white.
— SIMA XYN (@simaxyn) July 2, 2016
BLM responded on Twitter on Saturday, tweeting that a volunteer told the musician that the “movement shirts are for “Black-identified folks.”
“Denying me service due to my race when I’m showing my support to the Toronto #blacklivematter movement is ironic and killing my human rights,” Xyn tweeted.
Xyn, who has taken part in Pride for two decades, said she doesn’t understand why they wouldn’t want to include everyone.
So you are an anti-black racism resistance movement who only wants the support of black people? Why? Wasn't segregation the initial problem?
— SIMA XYN (@simaxyn) July 3, 2016
BLM also tweeted that the musician could make a donation instead but Xyn says she was denied from doing that.
CityNews spoke with Janaya Khan, one of the organizing members of BLM, on Tuesday who said the group was trying to use the shirts as identifiers for those in the protest and that the sale of shirts was limited for that period of time.
“BLMTO realizes that our biggest priority is ensuring that the demands we made of Pride Toronto are met,” Khan said in an email. “We are committed to an inclusive pride for ALL of us.”
Xyn wrote an open letter to BLM and said she would be posting it to social media.
BLM was in the spotlight this weekend after they briefly halted the parade on Sunday afternoon by stopping their own float and asking for a more inclusive pride for black LGBTQ members.
They gave a list of demands during the sit-in, including continued commitment of space, funding and logistical support for BQY (Black Queer Youth), an increase in funding for Blockorama and the removal of police floats from the Pride marches and parades.
— BlackLivesMatter TO (@BLM_TO) July 3, 2016
The group explained their 30-minute sit-in but many people took to social media to express their opinion.
Did Black Lives Matter overshadow Pride parade celebrations with their sit-in? Have your say, #Toronto
— CityNews Toronto (@CityNews) July 4, 2016
On Monday, a day after the parade, it appeared the signed deal may not stand.
Mathieu Chantelois, executive director of Pride Toronto, said that the controversial deal he signed on Sunday, with a feather pen and sealed with a hug, is not necessarily written in stone.
“One thing needs to be really clear. I don’t decide who goes in the parade. Black Lives Matter doesn’t decide who goes in the parade. Our community decides,” he said.
“We did the thing we had to do, make sure the parade was moving,” Chantelois explained. “Yesterday was not a place of negotiation, it was a place of you sign this paper or the parade stops forever, they would still be sitting in the street right now. I did what I had to do.”
The Toronto police union said it feels betrayed by Pride’s actions and a gay Toronto police officer penned an open letter to Pride about the demand to remove police floats from the parade.
“I am asking Black Lives Matter to change their approach to a more positive and accepting one,” said Xyn. “We are here to support and full of love – don’t push us away.”
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