Calgary’s LGBTQ and BIPOC communities to join nationwide protest to defund police

Calgarians of many stripes are coming together Saturday to demonstrate the need to defund the police and shift funds to social supports.

Raricanow, DefundYYC and Idle No More have organized a protest Saturday afternoon, joining others planned across the country.

Calgary’s protest is expected to draw from the LGBTQ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) communities.

LJ Joseph, vice president of Black Lives Matter Calgary, said the need for social supports is disproportionately greater in areas of the city that have more BIPOC.

“I do live in the affected area,” Joseph said. “So it hits closer to home. I can see how a lack of resources can lead up to crime.

“But people who live in a deep south suburb, they have no idea because they have all their social programs.”

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According to Joseph, the protest is also meant to raise awareness of the challenges Black trans people face, especially with police.

“We really want people to focus on Black trans lives today. The police have their own role within the LGBTQ community — that’s why it’s important to us to support.”

In 2018, then police Chief Roger Chaffin apologized for the Calgary Police Service’s treatment of the LGBTQ community, especially after decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969.

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The demonstrators plan to assemble at Sien Lok Park at 1 p.m. and begin their march to city hall at 2 p.m. — an event that coincides with Pride week in Calgary.

“Pride is open to everybody. Allies are necessary. It can’t just be us.”

More to come…

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