JUNE 14, 2021 ‒ Capital Pride’s mission is to create opportunities to celebrate, advocate, educate and connect people, respecting the full diversity of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. As we reflect on Pride Month, we are reminded not only of the progress we have made so far, but also of the ongoing discrimination and hate that our community still faces, especially for those who experience other intersecting forms of marginalization.
Capital Pride stands in solidarity with all those fighting for equity and justice, and we join our voices to others in the community to demand better. Fifty years ago, pioneers of the 2SLGBTQ+ movement in Canada marched to Parliament Hill to present ten demands for legal changes and policy reforms to the federal government of the day, in what would become known as the We Demand protest. As stated in the document that these activists submitted to lawmakers, “in a democratic society, if one minority is denied freedom, all citizens are oppressed.” This continues to ring true today.
Fifty years later, despite progress made in protecting fundamental rights and freedoms, grave issues still persist. That is why the theme of this year’s Capital Pride celebrations, We Still Demand, is so incredibly important. We are proud to support the launch of the Capital Pride Youth Committee’s social media campaign, #WeStillDemand, to bring attention to the ongoing challenges facing 2SLGBTQ+ youth in Canada, while also advocating for solutions to issues like the discriminatory blood ban, ongoing conversion therapy, and a lack of accessible and transaffirmative healthcare, to name but a few.
Recent events across the country—including the tragic discovery of the unmarked mass grave of 215 Indigenous children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the territory of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation; the horrific anti-Muslim terror attack in London, Ontario; the appalling gay-bashing incident in Toronto; a recent rise in anti-Semitic and Islamphobic rhetoric and violence across the country; transphobic posters being plastered across downtown Ottawa; ongoing anti-Black discrimination and unjust systems of over-policing; and a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes—show us how much work is left to do in order for us to achieve a truly just society.
While we encourage all community members, advocates and allies to add their voices to the growing calls for change, we also recognize that these events have been incredibly traumatic for many, especially those who see their identities reflected in the horrors we’ve witnessed in the past weeks and months. For those seeking support, here are some resources that may prove helpful:
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society crisis line (available 24/7): 1-866-925-4419
- Black Youth Helpline: 1-833-294-8650 or blackyouth.ca
- Counselling connect (same or next day mental health appointments)
- Jaku Konbit: (Black youth support group): 613-567-0600
- KidsHelp phone (available 24/7): 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868
- Mental Health Resource Guide, Ottawa Public Health
- Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) with staff working remotely: 613-725-5671×316 or email [email protected]
- Ottawa Distress Centre: 613-238-3311
- Somali Centre for Family Services: 613-526-2075
- Youth Services Bureau (YSB) crisis line available 24/7: 613-260-2360 or chat.ysb.ca
Despite these difficult times, we will continue our march forward in the pursuit of justice and dignity for all. Though our identities and experiences may differ, our common liberation is rooted in the dismantling of unjust structures that maintain our marginalization. Together, we can celebrate our diversity in all its forms, while also advocating for equity in everything that we do – and that is something that we, at Capital Pride, promise to continue doing.
If you believe in Capital Pride’s mission, if you share our vision for a truly just and equitable Canada, and if you want to contribute your time to help us achieve it, consider applying to our Board of Directors. We are seeking active members, especially of racialized and marginalized identities, to contribute their energy to continue celebrating, advocating, educating and connecting people within and beyond the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
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