Pride Week pro­claimed for the first time in Swift Cur­rent

Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

In what was a near in­con­ceiv­able idea at the start of this decade, the City of Swift Cur­rent has pro­claimed May 28 to June 3 as Pride Week.

Six days of ac­tiv­i­ties are planned for Swift Cur­rent Pride Week 2017, a quan­tum leap from their first Pride Day event six years ago. That ini­tial event was not ad­ver­tised pub­licly, as or­ga­niz­ers at that time felt they could not en­sure the safety of their guests, and they did not feel it was ap­pro­pri­ate to hire se­cu­rity for that ini­tial event.

“In not hir­ing se­cu­rity, we made a choice that night to hold our com­mu­nity, and that’s our en­tire com­mu­nity, to a higher stan­dard. We chose to trust that our friends and our neigh­bours and our co-work­ers could rise to the oc­ca­sion and prove that our home­town can in­deed hold cur­rency,” ex­plained Shawn Hanna, Vice Chair of South­west Saskatchewan Pride.

From that in­au­gu­ral event, an­nual ob­ser­va­tions have grown in stature, and six years later the com­mu­nity fi­nally pre­pared to pro­claim its first LGBTQ Pride Week.

“We know that the shift to­wards ac­cep­tance and open­ness is per­haps too fast for some, and per­haps maybe even some in this room here tonight. But I prom­ise you it’ll be OK.”

“This is a very proud mo­ment for the City,” Hanna added. “But make no mis­take, this is also a stamp of ap­proval that rec­og­nizes that di­ver­sity of a com­mu­nity is the hall­mark of a healthy com­mu­nity.”

A del­e­ga­tion sup­port­ing the South­west Saskatchewan Pride ini­tia­tive was in at­ten­dance at the Tues­day, May 23 coun­cil meet­ing where Pride Week was pro­claimed.

South­west Saskatchewan Pride Chair An­drea Mccrim­mon ex­tended her ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the sup­port given by the City of Swift Cur­rent to make this year’s events pos­si­ble. She re­ported it was an over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence and she was grate­ful for the help they re­ceived in high­light­ing their events which cel­e­brate the di­ver­sity of Swift Cur­rent, and pro­motes the in­clu­sion of gay, les­bian, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der and queer res­i­dents across the South­west.

“Sup­port­ing di­ver­sity within our com­mu­nity has many ben­e­fits for the well be­ing of the cit­i­zens of Swift Cur­rent. There’s a per­sis­tent idea that LGBTQ peo­ple will not find hap­pi­ness or ful­fill­ment in small cities like Swift Cur­rent. Our group, and the events dur­ing our Pride Week, demon­strate that this is not the case.”

Ad­mit­tedly, one of the goals of Swift Cur­rent Pride Week is to bring vis­i­bil­ity to the LGBTQ com­mu­nity within Swift Cur­rent and the South­west.

“We are your friends. We are your neigh­bours. We are your busi­ness and com­mu­nity lead­ers. We are ser­vice providers. We are care givers. And we play a sig­nif­i­cant role in sup­port­ing our lo­cal econ­omy. We are part of the di­ver­sity and unique cul­ture of the cit­i­zenry of Swift Cur­rent.”

Pride Week will af­ford res­i­dents an op­por­tu­nity to ac­knowl­edge and sup­port the di­ver­sity which ex­ists in Swift Cur­rent, while cre­at­ing safe spa­ces for peo­ple to be them­selves and con­nect with oth­ers.

“We are re­ally thrilled and ex­cited that we re­ceived such over­whelm­ing com­mu­nity sup­port in plan­ning Swift Cur­rent’s first Pride Week, and that in­cludes from the City of Swift Cur­rent.”

Swift Cur­rent Deputy Mayor Ryan Plewis noted at Tues­day’s coun­cil meet­ing that the city feels it is im­por­tant week for the com­mu­nity de­spite any op­po­si­tion to the procla­ma­tion.

“Maybe that’s not al­ways com­fort­able for ev­ery­body. Maybe it’s not al­ways some­thing that ev­ery­body would sup­port,” he said.

“But as the Mayor men­tioned that we want to be a safe and car­ing com­mu­nity, and that in­cludes wel­com­ing peo­ple of what­ever stripe as friends, neigh­bours, busi­ness part­ners, cus­tomers, pro­fes­sion­als.”

“It is im­por­tant that we rec­og­nize that this (the LGBTQ) com­mu­nity is part of our over­all com­mu­nity and it makes us a stronger and bet­ter place.”

The grand fi­nale of the week oc­curs on Satur­day, June 3, when a Fam­ily BBQ will be held at Mar­ket Square from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A Pride March will be held at noon, and a day of ac­tiv­i­ties con­cludes with a gala Pride Dance at the Lyric The­atre start­ing at 8 p.m.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.south­west­saskpride. com or on their South­west Saskatchewan Pride face­book page.

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