Letter RE: Criminalization of Hamilton PRIDE Defenders

Dear Mayor Fred Eisenberger and Chief Eric Girt,  

We write to you today on behalf of our various members to express the deepest concern and disgust with the treatment of members of Hamilton’s queer and trans community in these recent days. Following the vicious attack on Hamilton’s PRIDE events by bigoted far right groups (Christian extremists and outright fascists among them), the City of Hamilton has shamed itself with its reprehensible conduct in the targeted criminalization against these community members.

As progressive and forward-looking organizations centered in the Nation’s capital, we look on these events with concern, both in relation to those who have been criminalized and how the City’s actions will impact our community in future. We have seen that the majority of those criminalized either defended themselves from hateful attack or had spoken out later to defend those impacted by fascist violence. While all these arrests are egregious, the actions taken against Cedar Hopperton are utterly deplorable. As noted by several eyewitnesses, Cedar was not even present at PRIDE and is therefore being blatantly criminalized for speaking out against the actions of police and fascists. With this series of targeted arrests, Hamilton Police Service is demonstrating their contempt of queer and trans communities that have historically been marginalized by the police as an institution. In light of both current contexts and wider history, we demand the immediate release of Cedar Hopperton and to drop all charges on Hamilton’s PRIDE defenders. 

For our local community, we fear that your actions will embolden fascists and right wing fundamentalists of all sorts to exact further attacks on LGBTQ communities. We have already seen this reality in action in Toronto this past weekend and could very well see further incidents unfold as PRIDE events continue through the summer months. Every emboldened attack from these figures rests on your shoulders until the clearinjustices exacted on LGBTQ communities by the City of Hamilton have been dealt with.

This vile criminalization has created a climate of fear for all LGBTQ community members and its repercussions will be felt by these communities across the region. We will not  stand idly by in the face of fascist violence and state repression. Instead, we will stand with queer and trans communities and with their political prisoners such as Cedar.

In closing, we demand that you release Cedar and focus your efforts on actually combating the fascism that lurks on Hamilton’s streets and inside your city hall.  

In solidarity with the Hamilton PRIDE defenders and with deepest concern, 

Ottawa CUPE Council

Council of Canadians

Council of Canadians–Hamilton Chapter

Kingston Peace Council

Ontario Public Interest Research Group–Brock

Ontario Public Interest Research Group–Guelph

Ontario Public Interest Research Group–Kingston

Ontario Public Interest Research Group–Toronto

Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 901


UPDATE (July 4th): The Council of Canadians National Office and Hamilton Chapter has co-signed this letter! If your organization wants to co-sign too, just contact us at vp.external@cupe4600.ca!

UPDATE (July 5th): OPIRG Kingston and OPIRG Toronto have also endorsed the letter!

UPDATE (July 8th): The Kingston Peace Council has endorsed!

UPDATE (July 9th): OPIRG Brock and OPIRG Guelph have endorsed!

UPDATE (July 10th): PSAC 901 has endorsed!