September 26, 2019

Twenty faith leaders with elected officials, community groups and hundreds of residents band together in #UniteForLove Rally against hate and bigotry

Statement on the Planned March for September 28

This Saturday several groups are coordinating to march up Church Street from The Esplanade to Davenport Road, right through the heart of the Village, Canada’s largest LGBTQ2S+ community. Participants expected include radical right provocateurs, Islamophobic organizations, white supremacists, and self-proclaimed Christian activists who have disrupted past Pride events. The planned march will be traumatic for those who have faced homophobia, transphobia, racism, and other forms of discrimination. I condemn this in the strongest possible terms. The LGBTQ2S+ community and our allies are not going back into the closet. Nor will we stand to be erased and belittled for who we choose to love and how we chose to define family.  We will not concede the inclusion and progress we have fought so hard for.

Toronto Police have been monitoring all activities closely and are certain that all possible precautions are being taken to prevent violence anywhere on Church Street and to keep the Village safe. LGBTQ2S+ community and progressive faith leaders are collaborating on a number of responses to the planned march, including a historic event that will be held at Barbara Hall Park that everyone is invited to attend.

Twenty Faith Leaders to Gather at Unite For Love Rally to Speak in Support of the LGBTQ2S+ Community

I will be joining over twenty faith leaders, including Reverend Jeff Rock, Reverend Cheri DiNovo, and Reverend Alexa Gilmour at Barbara Hall Park, along with Mayor John Tory and former Premier and MPP Kathleen Wynne, at 11:30 am on Saturday, September 28 to stand with the community and our allies to rally and Unite for Love. We are gathering in partnership with progressive and vibrant organizational partners such as the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association, Church-Wellesley Village BIA, The 519, Metropolitan United Church, Trinity-St Paul’s United Church, Windermere United Church and many, many more. Facebook event here.

Faith leaders will not only celebrate the LGBTQ2S+ community but also collectively and openly condemn homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia. For the first time in Canadian history, they will apologize and acknowledge the historic harm that has been done to the LGBTQ2S+ community by organized religion. This event will welcome people of all ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, faith traditions, abilities, countries of origin, political beliefs etc in supporting the LGBTQ2+ community.

In addition to the esteemed community leaders who are helping to coordinate Saturday’s event, I have been in contact with a number of elected officials, including Mayor John Tory, former Premier and MPP Kathleen Wynne, Minister Bill Morneau, MPP Suze Morrison who stand in absolute support of the community. We look forward to greeting them and other elected officials in the Village this Saturday. 

Hate is not welcomed in the Village. We’ll rise to resist hate. We won’t be bullied into silence. We will not go back. We will #UniteForLove.

Lisa Hoffman

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