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A Statement From Our CEO Rebecca Shields-Pride Month

Dear Friends,

June 1st marks the beginning of Pride Month. I read this from a news article by the BBC,

June is the month chosen to celebrate pride as it was the month of the Stonewall riots, the protests that changed gay rights for a lot of people in America and beyond. It is about people coming together in love and friendship, to show how far gay rights have come, even if in some places there is still some work to be done.

Black gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen Marsha P. Johnson was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising. More importantly, back in 1973 after being banned from participating in the NYC gay pride parade because they “weren’t gonna allow drag queens” claiming they were giving them a bad name, Marsha and fellow drag queen Sylvia Rivera marched defiantly ahead of the parade. These brave leaders remind us that there is no equality when anyone is excluded or left behind.

Right now people in communities of colour are expressing their outrage at being left behind. They are fighting for recognition and justice, just as the Stonewall protesters did many years ago.

Pride Month is evidence that from turmoil and sustained collective action, rights and freedoms can be won leading the way to love and unity.

For over twenty-seven years I have partaken in these annual festivities. I have attended concerts and parades, lectures, art shows and plays and walked and enjoyed many street festivals. I have enjoyed many moments of celebration and recognition and freedom to dance boldly in the streets where crowds cheered encouragement and my 2SLGTBQ+ rights are celebrated.

For me, Pride Month aims to teach belonging by celebrating difference and the belief that love truly is love.

So to all my friends, colleagues and community, Happy Pride! May the lessons of history be learned as we all commit to a better future of love and friendship for each and every one.

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