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New event celebrates Fort Macleod as diverse, inclusive community

The committee has created ‘Room For Everyone’ T-shirts to celebrate the event. The T-shirts will be sold at Saturday, Aug. 10 at the event and are available at Twisted Hummingbird.

A group of citizens wants to make the point Saturday, Aug. 10 that there is room for everyone in Fort Macleod.
They have organized a free event from 2-4 p.m. at Centennial Park that includes the raising of a rainbow-coloured Pride flag at 3 p.m.
“It’s family-friendly,” committee member Trish Hoskin said. “We want members of the LGBTQ community to come out and feel safe and supported, but we also want others to come out and show their support for a totally inclusive community.”
“Room For Everyone” will be a low-key event with music and crafts as well as free popcorn and freezies.
There will be wishing well at the event in which people are invited to leave their wishes for the Fort Macleod and district community.
A banner that committee members carried in the Lethbridge Pride parade will be on display.
People will be invited to sign the banner, with names added during future Pride events in Fort Macleod.
Georgie Buzunis and Kelly Murphy have been invited to raise the Pride flag in a short ceremony at 3 p.m.
The Pride flag will fly for a week on a new community flag pole being erected in Centennial Park. Other groups will be able to fly their flags for special events.
“We are an all-inclusive community and we do celebrate diversity,” Hoskin said of the message the committee wants to send. “We want Fort Macleod to be a safe community for everybody.”
Planning for a community event began last year after two Pride flags — one on a private residence and the other on a downtown business — were vandalized.
Hoskin, Lee Holfeld, Jody Francis, Colin Walmsley and Cassie Walmsley formed a committee to carry out the planning.
“We have community members who have faced violence and they faced discrimination because of who they are,” Hoskin said.
“We wanted to do something so people who are LGBTQ don’t feel targeted and know they are supported in the community.”
Neighbouring communities such as Raymond and Cardston, which have hosted Pride events, reached out to offer support.
“For them to say that to us, to offer that support, has been really great for us,” Hoskin said. “They’ve been through it, they’ve faced some of the struggles that small towns have had when they’re trying to do something like this.”
The committee will sell “Room For Everyone” T-shirts for $20 apiece at the event to help cover costs of the celebration.
The committee received a small grant from the Fort Macleod Diversity and Inclusion group but members are still out of pocket for costs at this point.
Any extra money raised from T-shirt sales will be put toward a similar event in 2020.
The T-shirts are also being sold at Twisted Hummingbird on Main Street.
Volunteers are needed to help on Saturday. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can register at roomforeveryone.fm@gmail.com.
“The most significant thing people can do is just come and enjoy two hours with us on a beautiful afternoon,” Hoskin added.
In connection to the “Room For Everyone” event, the Empress Theatre is organizing a free showing of the family-friendly movie Love, Simon.
“The feedback that our group has had has been all good,” Hoskin said. “We haven’t had anyone say anything nasty. Everyone has said, ‘We’ll be there, looking forward to it’.”

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