The 519 issues statement on freedom of expression at Pride 2010

LGBT community centre urges Pride Toronto to reverse its decision

TORONTO, June 10 /CNW/ - The Board of Management of The 519 met last night to approve an official statement on freedom of expression at Toronto's 2010 Pride Festival. The Centre's statement calls on Pride Toronto to reverse its decision to ban the term "Israeli apartheid" and urges Pride and the City of Toronto to undertake a constructive dialogue with the broader communities on the issue. The statement concludes with an offer to play a supportive role in creating that dialogue.

"We are concerned with how divisive this issue has become in the community" explained Natasha Garda, Chair of The 519's Board and former Co-Chair of Pride Toronto. "We are calling on Pride Toronto, the City of Toronto and the broader community to engage in a constructive dialogue and we believe that reversing the ban should be the first step in beginning that discussion."

In issuing the statement, The 519 joins a growing list of community activists and organizations speaking out against Pride Toronto's decision and the City of Toronto's role in that decision.

"We value the role the City's Anti-Discrimination Policy plays in addressing oppression and systemic discrimination" Garda continued, "but we firmly believe it is best applied in a way that fosters and supports dialogue, education and awareness. It is also essential that the policy is applied fairly and reasonably to all grant recipients, consistent with the principles adopted in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code."

The 519's official statement is available on The 519's website

The 519 Church Street Community Centre was founded in 1975 as a Board of Management of The City of Toronto. The 519 is a meeting place and focal point for its diverse downtown communities. Within a supportive environment, it responds to the needs of the local neighbourhood and the broader LGBT communities by supplying resources and opportunities to foster self-determination, civic engagement and community participation.

SOURCE The 519 Church Street Community Centre

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Matthew Cutler, Manager of Resource Development and Communications,, 647.248.2199

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