I was happy to attend today's Proud of Toronto event at Toronto City Hall at this crucial time. It was quite an event and will hopefully serve to galvanize the LGBTQ community into action. As many will know, Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his neo-con followers are gunning for Toronto Pride this year, hoping to cut off funding for the annual event. They also hope to cut funding for LGBTQ Programs and Services like the 519 Community Centre, arts and culture, economic development, tourism, and HIV/AIDS programs and services.
It appeared they'd use the excuse of 'Queers Against Israeli Apartheid' to cut off funding. But now that that group has pulled out of this year's Toronto Pride parade, Rob Ford and his cohorts will no doubt be looking for any and all other excuses for denying funding.
Such investment into Toronto Pride, both through direct cultural funding as well as police and clean-up support, is crucial. As Pride co-chair Francisco Alvarez said today at the City Hall event, cutting off funding for Toronto Pride this year jeopardizes Toronto's World Pride celebrations in 2014 and could lead to Toronto Pride's bankruptcy.
Thus, it's crucial that everyone who supports Toronto Pride contact Toronto City councillors to urge them to resist the very real threat to cut off funding for this important institution.
I urge everyone to sign this petition and share it on Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else you can.
Like the Proud of Toronto campaign, I also urge you to write the City of Toronto's Executive Committee ahead of their meeting on May 24, 2011 about why Pride Toronto matters: firstname.lastname@example.org. They will vote that day on what recommendation to make to City Council on Pride Toronto funding. I will be emailing the committee as soon as I finish this post.
Join the campaign's Facebook page here. And most importantly, spread the word and sign the petition.