Vernon’s downtown plaza was filled with people showing their pride Saturday, Aug. 12.
Hundreds of people took part in a march through downtown Vernon along 30th Avenue on the penultimate day of the second annual Pride Week in the city.
There were activities in the 2900-block pedestrian plaza, including pin making; Pride bumper stickers were available and there were prizes donated by businesses in the community to be won.
The Pride Parade is underway in downtown Vernon! 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ pic.twitter.com/5iltaNmqG5— Vernon Morning Star (@VernonNews) August 12, 2023
Abbie Wilson, president of the Vernon Pride Society, said she’s been asked numerous times why Pride Week is needed in the community.
“We need Pride for our past, remembering all of our queer and trans ancestors who have gone before us, who have worked and fought so hard, who have always existed. For our younger selves who didn’t know it was OK to be ourselves, who maybe didn’t have the language to describe who they were and are, who maybe didn’t feel safe to come out until much later,” she said.
“We need Pride for our present because there are still people out here in their homes, places of worship, schools and communities who can still not safely be themselves, because there is still currently violent and vile things being said online, politically and or publicly against 2SLGBTQIA+ people.
“We also need Pride for the future, for our future selves, for the fight we have ahead of us with the increase in hate, for future generations to be and know themselves and love who they love.”
Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming took the mic to express that the City of Vernon is everyone’s city, including the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
“These marches hold immense importance because they amplify voices and they call for change,” Cumming said.
Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu said there is a lot of misinformation about what initiatives like Pride Week are all about.
“I cannot understand as a mother why somebody’s own insecurities are leading into this propaganda that is so dangerous,” she said. “Hate destroys your inner soul, it destroys the community, it destroys everything. The only way to conquer hate is love.”
Pride Week wraps up Sunday, Aug. 13. For more information, visit vernonpride.ca.