Pride Flag flying at Brantford City Hall

BRANTFORD — Mayor Chris Friel had a strong message for everyone listening at Monday’s Pride Flag Raising event at City Hall.

“I’m going to be so blunt because I can’t say anything else about it. Does not happen in our community. F*ck Nazi’s – period,” said Friel — who responding to an increasing and active presence of hate group rallies, recruitment and swastika graffiti in Brantford.

Guests at the first of a full week’s worth of Pride events celebrating the city’s LGBTQ2S+ community erupted into cheers and applause at the mayor’s response.

Organizers at Brantford Pride Flag raising, in it’s eighth year, opened the event with a land acknowledgment recognizing Brantford and Brant County as the traditional territory of the Annishnabe and Haudenosaunee people.

“The land in which Brantford Pride organizes is stolen. Brantford Pride is committed to efforts of ongoing reconciliation and decolonization based on the needs and suggestions given by members of Brantford Pride and indigenous folks within the Brantford and surrounding communities.We are all treaty people. We encourage members of the LGBTQ2S+ community to expand their knowledge of colonization this history of this land and the many ways colonization continues to manifest.”

The official rainbow flag will fly at city hall for the week, sharing space with a Philippines flag in celebration of Filipino Independence Day on June 12.

Ken Giesen of Brantford Pride reassured those present that safety measures are in place for all Pride events coming up later this week given protests that arose in Dunnville.

On May 26, guests at Haldimand-Norfolk’s second annual Pride event were subjected to a protest-disruption. About 12 people with megaphones and large signs shouted homophobic, islamophobic and ableist slurs at people who were celebrating Pride in Dunnville.

In response organizers for Brantford Pride wanted to reassure their guests they are working together with city police to provide security.

Giesen said Brantford Police were asked to not participate formally in 2018 Pride events in solidarity with the greater LGBTQ2S+ community’s objection to marginalization by police — however he said uniformed officers will be present for security during the parade at the request of the committee.

The entire week will be filled with activities to celebrate Brantford’s LGBTQ2S+ community.

On Wednesday The Bridge will be hosting a Safer Spaces Training Session at the Brantford Library from 6-8pm.

Thursday Brantford and Six Nations Pride are rallying together to host a Sunset Rainbow Boat Cruise. Tickets are $20 and available at all Brantford Scotiatbank branches or through the Six Nations Pride Facebook page.

Friday a Youth Pride Beach Dance Party is happening from 6-10 pm.

Saturday will see the Walk With Pride parade start at noon from Mohawk Park. Followed by Pride in the Park at the Mohawk Park Pavillion and a Pride Dance in the Pavillion Hall starting at 8pm.

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