On June 1, community members celebrated Pride at Parkdale-Cromdale Community League.
Cindi Cunningham, the evening emcee and league board member, after the vital First Nations tribute, announced, “We are here to raise the Pride flag. It is important to create inclusive spaces within our communities.” Cunningham settled in the community a year and a half ago. “We just fell in love with it here.”
MLA Janis Irwin, also a Parkdale-Cromdale resident, thanked the small but mighty crowd that turned out for the ceremony. “I know in the past few years things were tough. Now that things are opening up, watch for Pride celebrations throughout Edmonton and Alberta.” Irwin acknowledged two board members, Steven Townsend and Kevin Wong, who were the force behind the flag raising in the community. “This really is an exciting place to be.”
Despite the diversity of the neighbourhood, Irwin said, “We still do have work to do. Last year, we raised the Treaty 6 flag the day after white supremacists rallied in our neighbourhood.” Irwin notes her own privilege as a white, cisgender person: “I can’t possibly know what it’s like to be a racialized trans person, who we know on average experiences far higher levels of violence and discrimination than I ever will.” Irwin’s point emphasizes the flag is more than a celebration. It is an invitation to reflect on the work that needs to be done and the history. For those who wish to know more, research the Stonewall riots in 1969. “It’s stuff like raising the flag that makes our communities more open, inclusive, welcoming, and safe for all.”
Irwin thanked people for attending. “It’s very easy for us to forget just how privileged we are to be in this neighbourhood where there is this support pocket.” Communities everywhere can support the rainbow, post a flag in their windows, and raise their voices to speak up for people’s rights. That is what community is all about. That is where pride is born and lives.