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Black Lives Matter TO: Please Stop Pushing Allies Away

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black lives matter pride
Black Lives Matter Toronto hold a sit-in at Yonge Street and College Street that stalled Toronto's annual Pride Parade. (Photo: Randy Risling/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Dear Black Lives Matter Toronto,

I am writing today in deep sadness due to how your events transpired at Pride. I am a Turkish, Muslim and gay woman, and a Pride-goer for nearly two decades because this is a place of inclusive acceptance and love. I have performed my music for four years on several Pride stages, joined the marches and this year I built one of the stages with my crew. You can say I take a lot of pride in Toronto Pride, like so many others.

On Saturday, I reached out to you with all my love and enthusiasm because I thought your BLM Toronto movement was much-needed and I wanted to support you. Having heard only a little bit about your movement, I was intrigued to learn more from you directly. I approached your booth and said, "I would like to buy a shirt and make a donation," but your volunteer told me shirts are $20 and are only for sale to the black community.

What baffles me is you really took the time to tell me I'm not the right race, colour or minority to purchase your T-shirts or support your organization. I replied, "That's not right" and left quickly, dumbfounded and shocked, trying to collect my jaw from the streets of Toronto.

The injustice to black lives is everyone's issue, not just a black community issue.

Please explain why you don't want support from people of other races. People are people. The injustice to black lives is everyone's issue, not just a black community issue. Segregation is what got us in this mess to begin with, why perpetuate the cycle?

This is the most inclusive event/time/festival of the year and I want to remind you this year's theme was "You Can Sit With Us." You were kindly invited as guests of honour to sit with us, celebrate and lead our marches, but you chose such an inappropriate and destructive way of getting your message across and refusing service to me.

It's tragic and sad that your mentality seems to be black lives only matter to other black lives, or that no other race could ever understand, sympathize or support your movement or your community.

I kindly ask you today to please change your approach and stop pushing allies away.

How do you justify pushing the (I quote your BLM_TO reply to my tweet) "non­-black identified folks" and LGBT police officers who are excited and joyful to come out every year to support, join the floats, to celebrate their pride with us proudly in their uniform and keep us safe? Did you forget Orlando, pro-­ISIS account threats to Toronto Pride, gay rights, human rights and the people you are trying to represent?

You are an anti-racism movement pushing allies from other races away. Tragically ironic.

I kindly ask you today to please change your approach and stop pushing allies away. Your cause is amazing but your message is distorted, angry and destructive. The injustice done to black lives deserves a more positive representation than what you are currently offering.


Sima Xyn Kuday

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Toronto Pride Parade 2016
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