The Ac­tivist

Midtown Post - - Inspire - BY REV. CHERI DINOVO MIN­IS­TER

Build­ing bridges for the LGBTQ2SIA com­mu­nity

As a politi­cian I passed more LGBTQ Bills than any­one in Cana­dian his­tory, per­formed the first le­gal­ized same-sex mar­riage in North Amer­ica and was the only woman to sign the We De­mand state­ment (the first gay rights lobby ef­fort in Canada), so I’ve seen my share of ac­tivism and ac­tivists. Few peo­ple stood out as ex­em­plary spokes­peo­ple for those of us in the LGBTQ2SIA com­mu­nity at that time. Olivia is one of them. She has been ac­ces­si­ble, coura­geous and ef­fec­tive.

She has made dif­fi­cult po­lit­i­cal calls with in­tegrity. I’ve al­ways ad­mired her tenac­ity and her prin­ci­ples. It’s beyond dif­fi­cult to man­age our var­i­ous in­ter­ests with hon­esty, diplo­macy and brav­ery.

When it came to the con­cern the LGBTQ2SIA com­mu­nity and the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment had with uni­formed po­lice in­volve­ment in the Pride Pa­rade, Olivia’s role proved ex­em­plary. She lis­tened to the com­mu­nity. Then she in­volved her­self in at­tempt­ing to re­solve some of the is­sues with the Toronto Po­lice Ser­vice. Both re­quired tact. Not ev­ery­one was or can be sat­is­fied in such a process, but the fact that she was able to tra­verse some very real griev­ances and work to­ward heal­ing shows her peace­mak­ing skills in prac­tice. We need more peace­mak­ers, peace­mak­ers that lis­ten and main­tain their prin­ci­ples but steer con­flict to­ward res­o­lu­tion. Olivia is one. Olivia is, in all things, some­one you can call. Olivia is also a role model. Per­haps most im­por­tantly, when I watch her, I think of all those young girls who will lead bet­ter lives both be­cause of her and by fol­low­ing in her foot­steps.

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