Categorized | News

Pride flag flies over Fort Macleod

People signed their names to the ‘Room For Everyone’ banner.

Georgie Buzunis and Kelley Murphy prepare to raise the Pride flag in Centennial Park.

Georgie Buzunis and Kelley Murphy prepare to raise the Pride flag in Centennial Park.

Lethbridge MLA Shannon Phillips attended the ‘Room For Everyone’ event. From left: Trish Hoskin, Cassie Walmsley, Lee Holfeld, Colin Walmsley, Phillips, Jody Francis and Kristi Edwards.

Cheers went up Saturday afternoon in Centennial Park as Georgie Buzunis and Kelley Murphy raised a Pride flag that will fly for a week over Fort Macleod.
About 100 people turned out at Centennial Park for the “Room For Everyone” event, which included raising the rainbow-coloured flag.
“This flag represents love and acceptance,” Lee Holfeld of the organizing committee said.
“I know there are people in this community who were afraid to come here today. They were afraid to be out for fear of repercussions from their family, from people they know.”
“It’s my sincere hope that those people will see that flag this week and will know that there are people in this town who love them and accept them.”
People turned out Saturday afternoon for free popcorn and freezies, to do crafts, to visit and to share their wishes for Fort Macleod.
Plans for the event began last year after two Pride flags were vandalized — one at a downtown business and the other at a private residence.
Holfeld told the gathering Saturday it was necessary to counter those events.
Holfeld reached out to Trish Hoskin, Jody Francis, Colin Walmsley, Cassie Walmsley and Kristi Edwards to create an organizing committee.
“I said we need to do something,” Holfeld said. “We need to create some positives.”
Saturday’s event attracted people from Fort Macleod and other communities, including elected officials, town staff, members of the RCMP and New Democrat MLA Shannon Phillips from Lethbridge.
Town of Fort Macleod chief administrative officer Sue Keenan welcomed the gathering to town.
“It is a large day here in the Town of Fort Macleod,” Keenan said of the first Pride event.
Keenan said the “Room For Everyone” event is an important step for Fort Macleod, but more work remains to be done.
“There’s a lot of talk these days about inclusion and when we talk about inclusion it’s about walking the talk,” Keenan said. “And honestly, we’re not there yet. These kind of events will keep that trend going.”
Phillips said “Room For Everyone” comes at a time when Alberta took a step back in terms of LGBTQ rights.
Phillips was referring to the Education Amendment Act tabled in the Alberta Legislature by the United Conservative Party government.
The Official Opposition NDP argued Bill 8 rolled back protections for LGBTQ students and hinders the creation of gay-straight alliances in schools.
“Alberta became the first jurisdiction in Canada to roll back LGBTQ rights,” Phillips said. “We’re the first place ever in Canadian history to go backwards. That’s a problem.”
Concerned the UCP was taking away confidentiality of LGBTQ students and jeopardized Gay-Straight Alliances in schools, the NDP staged an overnight filibuster against Bill 8, to no avail.
Phillips said the filibuster was about the NDP standing up for everyone, including LGBTQ people.
“We were doing that for rural kids, in a lot of cases,” Phillips said. “We were doing that for kids in private schools.”
Phillips remains optimistic that Alberta will embrace change, likely driven by young people.
“Young people acting for change, acting for better, knowing their world can be better and being impatient with the fact it’s not, is what will continue to drive change in this province.”
At one station in Centennial Park people were able to write wishes on ribbons that they tied to a display stand.
Those wishes included:
“More inclusivity and love.”
“Kindness for all.”
And, “I may not know you. I may not understand you. But there is room for everyone here.”

People signed their names to the ‘Room For Everyone’ banner.

The ‘Room For Everyone’ event organizing committee, from left: Cassie Walmsley, Jody Francis, Colin Walmsley, Lee Holfeld, Kristi Edwards and Trish Hoskin.

Georgie Buzunis and Kelley Murphy prepare to raise the Pride flag in Centennial Park.

Lindsay O’Sullivan ties a ribbon on the ‘Room For Everyone’ wish station. People wrote a wish on a ribbon and tied it to the station.

There were craft stations at the ‘Room For Everyone’ event.

Lethbridge MLA Shannon Phillips attended the ‘Room For Everyone’ event. From left: Trish Hoskin, Cassie Walmsley, Lee Holfeld, Colin Walmsley, Phillips, Jody Francis and Kristi Edwards.

Tags |

Comments are closed.

Subscribe Online

Other Stories in this Category


Photo Albums – what’s new

Fort Macleod Sharks swim meet

Poll

Which concert in the new Empress Theatre Center Stage Series line-up is NO. 1 on your must-see list?