TRUFA is incredibly proud to have participated in the inaugural Kamloops Pride Celebration on Sunday, August 20th. Thanks to all who marched and helped staff our booth at Riverside Park. Thanks to our TRUFA contingent who staffed our information booth and marched in the parade. This includes:
- Star Mahara
- Juliana West
- Cindy Ross Friedman
- Tom Friedman
- Wilson Bell
- Martha Solomon
- Tracy Penny Light
- Silvia Straka
- Anita Swing
- Kyra Garson
- Claire Laville
- Mairi Mackay
- and their friends and family!
TRUFA extends and extra-special thank you to our TRUFA colleague, Kirstin McLaughlin (Nursing), who is also the President of Kamloops Pride. Thank you, Kirstin and the rest of the Kamloops Pride team, for such a wonderful event.
Here is Kirstin’s speech from Kamloops’ Pride, delivered in advance of the start of the historic parade:
Good morning Kamloops!
And they said it couldn’t be done! August 20, 2017 – Welcome to history!
My name is Kirstin McLaughlin and I am your Kamloops Pride President.
Before we kick off our inaugural downtown Pride Parade, I’d like to introduce you to local First Nation sensation Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour from Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and TRU, as well as his counterpart, Ms. Quanah Style! Jeffrey has been identified by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief and Council to welcome to territory.
Thank you Jeffrey and Quanah.
When the Kamloops Pride Board worked to define the vision for today’s Parade, we built that vision around three pillars: visibility, celebration, and community.
We are “Out in the Street!” Look around this park! There is an LGBTQ2S+ community and a community of allies that have always been here, and always will be. We are your children, your parents, your friends, your family, your co-workers, your neighbours. As you march in the parade today, know that support and validation and well wishes surround you, and that on this day, it is safe to be out, it is safe to be you, and that there is a community who surrounds and embraces you and who commits to doing the work of making every day safe to be out, every day safe to show up as who you are.
Today is about celebration! Sure I was tempted to welcome us to 1980 in my opening, but this is where we are today, this is the launching pad from which we’ll go forth! On this day we celebrate not only our first downtown Pride Parade, but every gender identity, sexual orientation, and romantic attraction amongst and between us. Let us truly celebrate diversity, celebrate difference. Steven Covey writes, “Appreciating differences is seeing that they can serve us. Differences show us where our own vision is incomplete. They open windows into worlds other than our own.” Every single one of us is worthy of rip-roarious celebration, so for goodness sake, can we please retire this antiquated goal of merely being tolerated?!
Lastly, but in so many ways most importantly, this day is about community. It took a village to make today happen, and Kamloops, you are that village!
We extend infinite gratitude to our sponsors: Turnbull Humanitarian Foundation, BCLC, Kamloops This Week, Ray’s Lock and Key, TRUSU, Chris Chan UP Real Estate, TD Bank, Unifor BC Regional Council, United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo, and the many other sponsors who made this day a reality – thank you!
To our community of volunteers – Kamloops United Church, the United Steelworkers, and the countless individuals and families who donated of their time and efforts – thank you!
To those of you gathered here today:
- Organizations who serve our community
- Faith Communities
- Politicians from all different walks
- Allies – thank you!
- TRUSU and the Pride Club who have held successful Pride Parades on campus for years
- Kamloops Pride and Gala Boards – past and present
- Andrea Klassen
- Caitlin Orteza
- Nichelle Penney
- Sam Numsen
- Eddy O’Toole
- Laura Hsu
- Rebecca Keefe; and
- Kennedy Healey
- And to every advocate and activist who has ever stood up in the name of equity, in the name of social justice, we stand on your shoulders, and this day belongs to you!!
What do you say Kamloops, should we go make history?