Traditional Trails Combines History and Exercise to Educate Winnipeg Cyclists

When Justin Larrivee and Adrian Alphonso first brought up the idea of an Indigenous- centered trail ride in Winnipeg, Manitoba, they were unsure of the response they would receive. 

They didn’t have to wonder for long: the duo’s first ride, centered around Winnipeg’s historical murals, monuments, and trails, drew over 20 people on the very first Traditional Trails ride in 2018. Cyclists looked on attentively as Alphonso and Larrivee stopped at each location to tell the group of the place’s Indigenous significance.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ventura, CBC News

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation commission report, finalized in 2015, set forward numerous actions needing to be taken by Canada’s government and non-Indigenous people to ensure safety reparations for Indigenous communities- also named “Calls to Action”.  One of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee Report’s many Calls to Action is centered around physical activity, and calls for the Canadian government to make physical fitness and sports opportunities equally accessible to Indigenous people. 

Alphonso and Larrivee are keenly aware of the physical Call to Action, and think that their own tours can help bridge the gap between affordable and engaging physical activities. "Being able to kind of combine a traditional culture with something like cycling is really important for actually reaching that call to action," said Larrivee.  

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ventura, CBC News

Traditional Trails has since gone on to hold many educational rides since its launch in summer 2018; and its organizers have been busy spreading the word about their work: Alphonso had planned to attend the Ontario Bike Summit’s 2020 conference as a keynote speaker and ride leader in Hamilton, before the conference was postponed due to the pandemic. 

While COVID laid some roadblocks for a busy summer tour season, Traditional Trails endures, and riders last met in August. Larrivee and Alphonso hope that their work inspires settler Canadians to examine the Indigenous histories of the land they’re on, and begin Indigenous centered rides in their own communities. 

"We feel like cycling, Indigenous cycling, is something that is going to grow and it's something that must grow," said Larrivee.

Keep an eye out for future information on the OBS Traditional Trails’ special edition Hamilton ride, to be offered in the future pending COVID restrictions. Keep following the Everyone Rides Initiative’s newsletter to stay informed. 

RESOURCES

To read more about Traditional Trails, click here. 

For more information on Healing Trails, a Winnipeg Indigenous-led association designed to re-think transportation through policy work, education, and real-life projects, click here

To read about Hamilton’s own Hamilton Regional Indian Centre (an ERI partner) and their resources, including free food banks for all, click here. 

Citations for ERI blog content: here and here

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Mark Anderson's Card Delivery Story

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Thea (Manager at the Everyone Rides Initiative), asking if I would be interested in volunteering- I’d be taking over Thea’s share of card deliveries during their much deserved vacation. During the pandemic I have been responsible, adhering to physical distancing, wearing my mask, and limiting my immediate circle. All this to say, I’ve been going a bit stir crazy without human interaction, even though I have been out on my bike almost every day. I jumped at the opportunity, and said yes. After Thea dropped off the cards and rider toolkits and explained my instructions, I was ready to go!

My first delivery took me on a scenic trip to Dundas. On the way, I stopped at York and Dundurn waiting for the light to turn and had a conversation with a gentleman about the Everyone Rides Initiative and Hamilton Bike Share. He was new to Hamilton and didn’t understand how the bike share system worked. Educating him on how to get riding was a great opportunity that I would repeat over the following two weeks. Going between Hamilton and Dundas to deliver cards afforded me time to do some route planning, and I made sure to include the Cootes Drive Trail in my ride. The Trail has plenty of turtles and deer at different times in the day, so make sure to keep an eye out! On the way back from Dundas, I noticed menacing clouds, and hoped I would get home before the rain hit. Later that day, I decided I would do the next 2 deliveries and waited out the rain. Once it had stopped, I set out-- but I had just gotten to the first address when the thunderstorm hit. I sought out some shelter under a building’s awning, and watched the intense storm. I guess the number one lesson for me that day was to make sure in future I took a couple of extra Rider Toolkits and cards with me, just so I didn’t have to run home during a thunderstorm.  

In that first week I did have a couple of hiccups and missed connections, where I had to go back to try delivering a rider’s card again. After those times, I had a catch-up phone call with Theron (Equity Coordinator at the Everyone Rides Initiative) and got some instructions about how I could leave the ERI Rider Toolkits and cards someplace safe and describe where I left them to the person I missed. Thea also suggested that I block my number when I call riders (as a way to protect my privacy), which had its own set of challenges due to a lot of people not answering unknown name phone calls. I remember that one person in West Hamilton mistakenly gave us his father’s phone number instead of his, which is easy to do because who remembers their own phone number, right? To sum up, as someone who loves riding my bike and exploring the city, I really didn't mind doing return trips. And because I was challenged in August to complete the Great Cycle Challenge to fundraise for children’s cancer research, the extra kilometres helped me reach my goal! I definitely posted to social media a couple of times when I was out wearing my Everyone Rides t-shirt- it’s a great advertisement for the program.

The second week of volunteering got off to a slow start, and I was frequently checking my Google sheet (yes, I learned how to check and edit a Google sheet!) for new deliveries to bring excitement. However, despite the low number of card deliveries, an opportunity to talk about the Everyone Rides program was always just around the corner, it seemed. Quite a few of my deliveries that week were within minutes of where I live, so they were quick and easy. One was in an apartment building, and right outside the building was the Hunter Street bike lane, where a landscaping company vehicle was blocking the lane. I had an unfruitful conversation with the operator of the vehicle about moving, but that led to a conversation with another gentleman nearby about Everyone Rides, Hamilton Bike Share, and bike lanes; before I delivered a Toolkit and card to the person requesting it in the building.

On Thursday of my second week volunteering, I made a post to the Hamilton Caremongering Facebook group about the Everyone Rides Initiative (I think it got the most likes and shares I have ever received on a Facebook post!) and on Saturday, I posted a similar callout to my Twitter- you know, just to get the word out.

On the weekend I thought I’d do some deliveries (7, actually) and figured I could get them all done late in the day as most were in the same area. Two were unreachable and I didn’t see any place to securely leave the card- by the time I had reached the last address on my list, I made contact with the first 2 people and chose to drop them off the next morning- remember the part where I said I love to be out on my bike every day? On Sunday I set out to deliver to the 2 riders I missed on Saturday, and the second rider was a wonderful older lady who had a few questions: about adaptive bikes, how to carry her cane on a SoBi, and how grateful she was that Hamilton Bike Share and the Everyone Rides Initiative was up and running.We talked about quite a few things- mostly current issues in the city- and before I knew it, we had talked for over 2 hours! Only with the threat of heavy rain and a few drops already falling on us did we part ways.

To summarize, here’s a couple of things I’ve noticed over the last few weeks: a lot of people in Hamilton need and appreciate Bike Share, and they need programs like the Everyone Rides Initiative. The age range of people I connected with on my deliveries was 16 to 70+.  This pandemic has been hard on people of all ages, and folks are craving a human connection: someone to talk to, listen to, and just be there.

So if you are looking for a great, healthy, and fun way to volunteer and connect with people, give the Everyone Rides Initiative a call or email, and give it a try. Seeing the joy on people’s faces when they receive a safe, affordable way to get around the city was incredible for me. I am sure that if you volunteer, your help will be appreciated by many.

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Top 5 Hamilton Routes to Ride: HBSI Board Director Midhat Shares Her Favourites

Meet Midhat: McMaster University and DeGroote School of Business Alumni, and one of the directors on Hamilton Bike Share's board.

In her role as director, Midhat holds the office of the secretary, keeping our documentation organized and up to date.

Midhat Taking A SoBi Around Town

Midhat is passionate about equitable access to bikes for all, and loves creating opportunities for people to experience the joys of cycling in their daily lives. She has found that Bike Share allows riders access to the freedom and flexibility to get to their destination by finding their own way,  and riding their route of choice. SoBis also allow riders to take one-way trips, which allows additional flexibility when exploring the City.

Having access to bikes via Hamilton Bike Share let Midhat truly discover the City of Hamilton, and fall in love with its hidden gems. Below are her top 5 must see destinations, and the routes she suggests to get there. Each route below begins at the Sterling and Forsyth Hub at the edge of McMaster University Campus.  

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1. McMaster to Pier 8 Skating Rink (Route) – 7.5 KM // 25 Min

Ride downhill on Longwood Road North along the Waterfront Trail, passing Bayfront Park and ending at Pier 8. Grab a pair of rental roller skates and a scoop of ice cream- this trip is a guaranteed good time.

2. McMaster to Chedoke Radial Trail and Waterfalls (Route) – 4 KM // 20 Min

This route ends at the Chedoke Stairs hub, where you can walk (or run) up the stairs, hike the Bruce Trail and find your way to Chedoke Waterfalls.

3McMaster to Hamilton Farmer’s Market (Route) – 4 KM // 18 Min

Hop on a bike to get to the Farmer's Market, drop by the Art Crawl (second Friday each month), or stop in for a delicious bite at one of the restaurants along James Street.

4McMaster to Gage Park (Route) – 10 KM // 37 Min

This route travels along the Rail Trail through many quiet neighbourhood streets, and ends at the lovely Gage Park. Visit the Greenhouse, walk through the flower garden, or watch a performance at the Bandshell. Nearby Ottawa Street is a great place to explore as well.

5. McMaster to Locke St (Route) – 4 KM // 15 Min

The most direct route to Locke takes you east down King Street West. After turning right onto Dundurn Street and continuing south, you end at the Charlton and Locke Hub beside Donut Monster. Locke Street has some great boutiques, cafes, and benches for people-watching.

 Midhat Signing Out a SoBi

Although Midhat doesn’t live in Hamilton at the moment, she still grabs a SoBi bike anytime she visits. As an out of town visitor, she uses her Pay As You Go membership to zip to meetings downtown from the Hamilton Go Centre or West Harbour station hubs- or for lectures or events at McMaster from the Main at Paisley GO bus stop.

We hope Midhat's bike share story inspires you to get out and ride! Remember, you can sign up here for a subsidized Pedal Pass. 

***This article is part of an Everyone Rides Initiative series that showcases where we ride in our beautiful City. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest delivered right to your inbox***

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Ryerson's Legacy: Truth and Reconcilation

 Ryerson’s Legacy: Truth and Reconciliation

On July 18th dozens of protesters in downtown Toronto called for an end to Canada’s glorification of racist policymakers from the past. The protest centered around a symbolic act: dousing Ryerson University’s statue of its founder in red paint, to represent blood shed by Canada’s Indigenous residential schools. Prior to the July 18th protest, Ryerson University students had been petitioning for the removal of Ryerson’s statue for over 5 years, arguing that it celebrates a man whose policies killed thousands. 

Credit: Ted Fraser, Toronto Star

Established in 1948, Ryerson University was named after Egerton Ryerson, a theorist and educator who is considered by many historians to be a key architect in shaping Canada’s educational systems. However, the most prolific educational system Ryerson was contracted to develop was the Canadian Indian residential school system: a Catholic and Anglican clergy-led, abusive institution that stole thousands of Indigenous children from their families, and whose primary goal was to “kill the Indian in the child” in order to assimilate them into a colonial settler society.  

Credit: United Church Archives, Toronto.

When asked about his primary goals for Canada’s residential schools, Ryserson once stated, “I think that the great object of industrial schools should be to fit the [uncivilized] pupils for becoming working farmers and agricultural labourers, fortified of course by Christian principles, feelings, and habits”. Ryerson’s vision of a hyper-religious school system designed to erase Indigenous languages and cultures became reality; and by 1931, 80 residential schools were in operation. As decades passed, reports from Indigenous children forced to attend the schools surfaced, describing horrors buried beneath Ryerson’s promise of “civilizing” subsequent Indigenous generations. Tens of thousands of children were severely abused by priests, several thousand went missing, and many of the latter were later discovered buried within mass graves. Canada’s last residential school was closed in 1996, but the traumatizing effects of forcibly eradicating cultural norms and sacred knowledge for over 170 years still prominently resonate within Indigenous communities today.  

Credit: Sean Kilpatrick, CBC News 2015

Although Prime Minister Stephan Harper apologized in 2008 for the harm residential schools wreaked upon already vulnerable communities for generations, Indigenous elders argue that little else has been done to offer long-term support to Indigenous communities and survivors who were cut away from their ancestors’ histories and cultures. The Truth and Reconconcilation Commission, founded 9 days prior to Harper’s apology, interviewed over 7000 survivors of residential schools, only to come to a unanimous conclusion in 2015: the schools perpetrated cultural genocide. 

Credit: Unknown

At the Toronto July 18th protest against Ryerson’s tribute statue, three protesters were arrested during the peaceful gathering. Protestors gathered at the Toronto Police’s 52 Division to demand their release, which was granted after a 5 hour wait and 3 charges of mischief. A student-led petition also began, demanding that the university change its name in order to separate Egerton Ryerson’s genocidal legacy from a school of higher education. 

TAKE ACTION:

As settler Canada resists in responding to necessary calls for accountability and justice for Indigenous peoples, more and more protesters are creating new calls to action. You can keep up to date with many acts of resilience here, and learn about Indigenous-led bike ride tours in Winnipeg here.

The Everyone Rides Initiative’s community partners, the Hamilton Regional Indian Center and the Aboriginal Health Centre, are two of many resources for Indigenous Hamiltonians to access, found here

We encourage everyone to read the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and apply the directives to your own workplaces and everyday lives.


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A Source of Comfort and Joy in Unprecedented Times

Written by Elise Desjardins, Hamilton cycling advocate (July 2020)

Image credit: Elise selfie, June 2020.

I started cycling in Hamilton in 2016 and became a bike share member in 2017. At the time, I was working a few kilometres from my home and cycling seemed to be the healthiest, fastest, and most affordable way to get to and from work.  Up until that point most of my cycling had been in my hometown as a child so I was experiencing Hamilton’s streets for the first time by bicycle. What started as a practical decision has slowly, but completely, shaped my lifestyle. In no time at all, cycling became a natural way for me to travel and my default choice. The freedom of mobility was new to me. I enjoyed new neighbourhoods by taking different routes to and from home. I loved how I could pass by a local business and decide to spontaneously stop and visit. I cherished the times I passed someone I knew cycling and could stop to say hello and chat. As I learned to cycle in our city, my connection to Hamilton and sense of belonging deepened. Now, I look forward everyday to cycling because I get to experience our city up close – it’s a special way to get to know any city intimately.  I look forward to my cycling commute everyday and some of my best experiences and memories in Hamilton have been by bicycle.

During the pandemic, nearly all of my trips have been with bike share. Before the lockdown began in March, I had been using bike share regularly almost every day to commute. It’s much easier and convenient in the winter since I don’t have to trek my personal bike in and out of my apartment (or up the stairs) or worry about maintenance. Hamilton Bike Share helped me become a year-round cyclist. When I transitioned to studying and working from home, it surprised me how much I immediately missed my cycling commute. I had always looked forward to them but hadn’t realized how much they were a fundamental part of my life until they abruptly stopped. With fewer places that I needed to go or needed to be, not being able to cycle my regular trips made me feel disconnected from my community. Although the weather was warmer, and in a normal year I would have started using my own bike more, I felt drawn to continue using the bike share system. The bike share hub at the end of my street became a source of comfort and joy at a time when many things were uncertain and difficult. With so many services and destinations closed, the blue and white bicycles became one of my strongest connections to our city.

I adjusted my cycling and my bike share trips turned into daily recreational rides. My cycling trips are now slower and shorter (mainly in my neighbourhood) but they have anchored me. Despite all of the things that seem to change daily or that are uncertain, cycling has been one of the constants. By bike share, I’ve been able to slow down, notice my neighbourhood, and explore streets that I had never travelled. I’m enjoying the intentional act of getting to know my immediate surroundings more intimately by bicycle, similar to my first experiences back in 2016-17. The other noticeable change in my cycling because of the pandemic is the social aspect. The streets in my neighbourhood are quieter and I often don’t see a single car on my evening bike rides. The extra space has allowed me to cycle side by side with my boyfriend. We can now enjoy the social experience of cycling – something that isn’t possible when we have to ride single file on the road or in a bike lane. With the sound of traffic all but gone, we can talk and laugh as we cycle. It has reminded me of my time in Amsterdam a few years ago where I always saw people cycling in pairs or in groups. In Amsterdam they recognize that cycling is something to experience with others, and their city is designed to support social riding. Cycling side-by-side is one of the unexpected joys that I have found during the lockdown, and one that I hope I will not have to miss after the city “re-opens”. It would truly be wonderful if the social aspect of cycling was celebrated and accommodated because it helps to strengthen connections between people and our environment.

Being able to rely on the bike share system throughout the pandemic has reinforced its value to me and to our community. I am deeply thankful that bike share staff maintained the system for Hamiltonians to continue cycling. Hamilton Bike Share is needed now more than ever for people like me to be physically active and make essential trips. I might not be able to return to my longer commute trips for a while, but I’ve managed to hold on tight to my sense of belonging in Hamilton because of bike share. I didn’t know the immense benefits that I would gain from cycling when I bought a bicycle back in 2016, but the practical decision I made years ago to cycle has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Elise Desjardins is a Master of Public Health graduate student at McMaster University.  Her research focuses on understanding how the built environment in Hamilton influences cycling and where cyclists travel. Elise helped to plan and coordinate Bike to Work Day in 2018 and 2019, and is also involved with Cycle Hamilton and the Bike Buddies initiative.

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No More Stolen Sisters

As Hamilton spent July 1st in lockdown without fireworks or in-person Canada Day festivities, hundreds of people gathered in an afternoon vigil to honour Indigenous women who have gone missing or been murdered in an ongoing, centuries-old national genocide. The “No More Stolen Sisters” event, held at the Claremont access on July 1st, featured storytelling and calls to action against anti-Indigenous cultural and systemic violence, racism, and misogyny in the colonial state of Canada.

Image credit: Nicole O’Reilly, July 1st 2020, Hamilton Spectator

A particularly powerful testimony came from an Indigenous woman who narrowly escaped death several years ago in Hamilton. “I’m one of the very, very, very lucky ones - I got to make it home to my family. I feel that it’s my job to speak up and tell my story”. The woman was adamant about sharing how many Indigenous women face systemic and police discrimination for having a drug dependency, on top of the discrimination they already face as Indigenous people and women: “It’s got to change [in Hamilton], people have to get rid of the [taking drugs equals deserving of harm] mentality”. 

The No More Stolen Sisters vigil attendees also brought dozens of red dresses to hang from trees, an homage to Métis artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project. Years ago, as Black listened to a conference presenter in Germany speak about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, she experienced a vivid flash of imagery: dozens of dresses, hanging from stark branches and dancing in the wind. The dresses in Black’s vision were uniformly red: “red to represent women of the red nation, red for life blood - women’s ability to give life”. 

Image Credit: Katherine Fogden, REDress Project, Washington DC, NMAI

By the time Black’s goal of 500 red dresses became fulfilled through donations in 2011, her project had gained national recognition. As of the present day, Black’s exhibit has been shown in numerous cities across Turtle Island; from Edmonton, Alberta to Washington, DC. The REDress project took on new life, as Indigenous vigils and protests began displaying red dresses in remembrance of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, such as the dresses displayed two week ago at Hamilton’s No More Stolen Sisters event. 

Image credit: Nicole O’Reilly, July 1st 2020, Hamilton Spectator

Regardless of the dresses’ location, passersby watching the garments twisting in the wind are often brought to tears; as the empty red dresses powerfully symbolize the absence of the bodies that should fill them. In Black’s gallery exhibits, dresses have blood-red petals beneath them, arranged in a perfect circle - a reminder of blood shed by women whose lives and deaths were never given justice. And at Hamilton’s No More Stolen Sisters vigil, several small, red dresses were brightly adorned with intricate stitching - dresses clearly made for children, meant to honour the Indigenous girls stolen from their families and murdered by Canadian “forced adoptions” and residential schools. Through the imagery of the red dresses hanging in the trees around them in the Claremont access park, vigil attendees were reminded of Canada’s colonial state and settler apathy to Indigenous deaths;  alongside local, systemic violence and acts of racism inflicted against Indigenous people in Hamilton. 

Jaime Black’s friend once told her that red is the only colour spirits can see; and thus her red dresses call the women they honour home to rest. The attendees of the July 1st vigil in Hamilton for Indigenous women and girls felt similarly as they sat listening to the stories of resilient, powerful Indigenous women who are still here; living their lives in bold defiance of Canadian state violence meant to erase them from history. Jessica Bonilla-Damptey, member of the Sisters in Spirit Committee and representing Hamilton's Sexual Assault Centre (SACHA) at the No More Stolen Sisters vigil articulated this vigil-wide solidarity best: “seeing those red dresses [and how they were] flowing in the wind was really impactful​​​​​​, just knowing that those sisters were there in spirit". 

Resources and Links:

To read more about the Cancel Canada Day project, click here

To learn more about Jaime Black’s work, click here

To access the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre’s services, or to make a donation, click here

To learn more about the No More Stolen Sisters Project, click here

 

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May 5th was Red Dress Day

Written by Thea Jones, ERI Program Manager (May 7, 2020)

Image: Rebecca Belmore, The Named and the Unnamed2002, video installation, Vancouver BC.

May 5th was Red Dress Day. On this day Canadians were encouraged to wear red as a way to draw attention to missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. 

The REDress Project was created by Metis artist Jamie Black, as a call to Canadians to remember. Black is a part of a history of female Canadian artists working to ensure we do not forget the missing and murdered indigenous women. Rebecca Belmore is one such artist. Belmore is internationally recognized multidisciplinary artist and a member of the Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe). 

On June 23, 2002 on the corner of Gore St and Cordova St in Vancouver BC, Belmore wore a red dress and conducted a performance she calls Vigil. Throughout this performance Belmore marks her body with the names of indigenous women who went missing from that intersection (Gore and Cordova) in Vancouver and then screams those names aloud - these screams are spaced with silence for the names of women we not know. Belmore hammers 
nails into her red dress, attaching herself to the corner, and attempts to rip her dress away, a seemingly impossible tasks that she works endlessly at. She lights candles. All of this work, this labour, was Belmore's way to call attention to the women we must not forget. 

Image: Jamie Black with her REDress project (credit: Sean Leslie, Global News)

Jamie Black, pictured above with her REDress Project, uses an empty red dress to depict the missing woman from the dress. Both Black and Belmore use the visual and performative power of art to help us grasp the magnitude of the loss and grapple with the injustice. 

The ERI team would like to thank these women for ensuring we remember their pain, and honour their present day resilience.

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Food Banks and FREE Meals

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A letter to Uber

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Pride and Remembrance

As we usher in June’s humidity and the fourth month of physical distancing in Canada, it’s natural for people to seek connection. June is a historically festive month, and many Hamiltonians look forward each year to one of the city’s most meaningful events: Hamilton Pride.

This year, Pride Hamilton has 
announced that Pride is going digital; allowing Pridegoers access to concerts and virtual events online. While the program has yet to be announced, we expect the best of Hamilton’s local talent and well-known performers to grace the virtual venue. 

Credit: John Rennison, The Hamilton Spectator

Local LGBTQ2S+ organization Speqtrum has released a stellar line up of events, organized under different themes. Take a look below:

SPEAK OUT: On THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 6-7:30 PM, join a Zoom call to write emails and call elected officials in support of Black organizers' demands.

QUEERIOSITY: Spoken word event in collaboration with Hamilton Youth Poets on FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 1:30-2:30. 

  • Free tickets here.

TRANS ID Q+A: Connect with legal experts on how to change your name and gender marker on THURSDAY, JUNE 18TH. 7-8 PM. Collaboration with Hamilton Community Legal Clinic and the Queer Justice Project

PEER SUPPORT TRAINING: Learn skills to better support your peers on THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 6-7:30 PM. 

INTERGENERATIONAL KITCHEN: Cook and connect with community on MONDAY, JUNE 29TH, 7-8:30 PM. 

If you’ve attended a Pride festival before, you might have felt at the time that you just joined a week-long street party. However, Pride festivals are strongly rooted in activism, protests against police violence, and resilience.

In the 1960s, queer and trans people attending gay bars across North America were routinely assaulted and thrown into jail for such “offenses” as dancing with a same-sex partner, or wearing three items of clothing “belonging to the opposite [gender]”. Although police-sanctioned abuse against LGBTQ2S+ people had endured for decades, it came to a head in the early hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City.

As butch lesbian Stormé DeLarverie was forcibly shoved towards the police van in her handcuffs, she shouted “why don’t you guys do something!”. When DeLarverie was lifted into the van, the crowd around her - already agitated from defending their peers - exploded in fury and desperation. The police were driven back by hundreds of the Stonewall’s patrons and neighbourhood supporters, and resorted to barricading themselves within the bar. By 4 AM, the streets had cleared, but a message resounded in the silence: queer and trans people fight back, and they’re done with taking abuse from cops.

News of the Stonewall rioters and their bravery spread quickly across the world. In 1970, the first ever gay pride marches were held in New York and Los Angeles in protest against policing and discrimination, and laws were increasingly passed, decade by decade, to protect LGBTQ2S+ people against bias and violence. 

Today, Pride festivals across the world are attended by millions of people each year, and are celebrations of queer and trans resilience. However, it is important to remember that without riots and resistance, Pride would have never come to be- and those acts of protest are still necessary today, as queer and trans people face increased discrimination and scrutiny from police.

As Hamilton Pride 2020 unfolds online this June amidst ongoing anti-Black racism protests, the Everyone Rides Initiative team encourages you to engage with Black, queer artists’ musicwriting, and art.

We wish the best for you and your loved ones as we celebrate Pride’s hopeful theme of liberation from oppression. 

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