Promoting Inclusion – Celebrating Diversity
The first ever Pride Day will be held in St. Paul on Saturday, June 22nd. Volunteer Jonathan Berube says the event is designed to bring people together and strengthen the sense of community, while showing support and love to the LGBTQ2 (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two Spirit) people in and around St. Paul.
Pride is about inclusion, Berube explained. “Inclusion transcends all barriers; race, gender, where you’re from. Pride is a mechanism to celebrate inclusion.”
Berube wanted to address an important question that he hears often, ‘Why are there Pride celebrations?’
“People around the world are still dying and imprisoned for being with the person they love,” stated Berube.
Some startling stats are that six UN member countries still have the death penalty as punishment for same sex relationships: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia. Mauritanian law allows for a sentence of death by stoning, but the country has a de facto moratorium on capital punishment.
Seventy UN member countries still criminalize same-sex relationships between two consenting adults. These punishments come with ten years to life prison sentences.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, even in Canada,” said Berube, who noted a recent serial killer caught in Ontario that was targeting gay men as his victims.
Pride is about standing together to promote inclusion and celebrate diversity.
Hosted by a group of 15 to 20 volunteers, the day will feature loads of fun activities for all ages. There will be information booths, art installations, books and pop-up story time thanks to the St. Paul Library.
“In true St. Paul community fashion we’re going to have a potluck lunch,” Berube said.
Rveryone is encouraged to bring their favourite dish or snack to enjoy the community lunch at noon. The Twisted Fork will be providing a special LGBTQ2 dessert, unicorn cupcakes.
Pride will feature special guest speaker Andy Klimach.
He will be speaking on GSA (Gay Straight Alliances), what they mean and why they are important in schools, the community as a whole and to the LGBTQ2 community.
At the event, people will be able to access great resources and information. The Bonnyville Friendship Centre, The Dragonfly Centre and Alberta Teachers Association – St. Paul Local, will on be on hand.
In a very touching display of love, there will be free mom, dad and kokum hugs available for anyone in need.
The day is completed with a family dance party, with music by DJ DZA.
“My hope is to see this event continue to grow,” stated Berube, “who knows, maybe next year we will see the Pride flag being raised at town hall?”
Join the celebrations
Pride is a free all-ages event, open to all members of the public at Reunion Station from 10am-2pm in St. Paul, sponsored by Cornerstone Co-op, The Jungle Flowers & Gifts, Jessica Digital, Shutterbee Photography and the Town of St. Paul.