Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Statement from The AIDS Network regarding Violence at Hamilton Pride
For over 30 years, The AIDS Network has provided support and been a leader in advocacy in the communities we serve. We believe in a Hamilton that is truly for all, and are committed to working towards a future where all people can live, work and play in this community free from the violence and marginalization many of our cities most vulnerable people currently face. We are deeply saddened and concerned that members of our community were subjected to yet another horrifying display of hateful violence at Hamilton Pride on Saturday June 15th. We are deeply troubled by the measurable escalation of hate groups that threaten the safety and wellbeing of us all.
What we are not, however, is surprised by this recent display of hatred and escalated violence. The AIDS Network has been a proud partner in recently published research conducted in partnership with McMaster University and volunteer community groups, Mapping the Void: Two Spirit and LGBTQ Experiences in Hamilton. Some of the report's more concerning findings included that 51.1 % of respondents reported feeling unsafe in outdoor public spaces in Hamilton, and 65.5 % responded that they felt like they had no connection to an LGBTQ+ community in Hamilton. Additionally, we have observed the escalation of hate extremist activity in Hamilton over the recent past several years, and have seen increasingly bold hate groups hostile to Pride celebrations and our Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities in general disrupting Pride celebration in the communities we serve as well as in our neighbouring communities since last year. There was nothing surprising about what happened in Hamilton on Saturday, and it is well past time that steps must be taken to address this threat to our collective safety and wellbeing.
There are steps the City can take immediately to show leadership on this matter, beginning with ending hateful demonstrations being permitted on City property. We call on all elected officials and community leaders to denounce these hateful groups. We cannot allow them to become more emboldened by our silence. We also call on all people of conscious to stand with our Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ friends and neighbours, to be as loud and clear in our support as we are in denouncing groups that perpetuate hate.
Let's make Hamilton a city that is truly for all.
Jim Martin Tim McClemont
President Executive Director