Cowichan Valley Youth Services are hoping to hold a Pride Parade in downtown Duncan as part of efforts to encourage acceptance and inclusiveness in the community, like rainbow crosswalks are intended to do. (File photo)

Pride Parade in the works for downtown Duncan

Cowichan Valley Youth Services wants to see a more inclusive community

A Pride Parade is being proposed for downtown Duncan.

A delegation from Cowichan Valley Youth Services appeared before the City of Duncan’s council on April 1 asking that the city support the parade, which they hope to hold somewhere around June 1 pending permit approval, and help raise awareness in the community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, and intersex issues.

Milah Smith, a youth and family counsellor at the CVYS, said a number of young people spoke to council members from the heart about the importance of having an inclusive and safe community where everyone is celebrated.

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“They pointed out that a lot more can be done to achieve this, and council members were supportive and eager to be on board with plans for the parade and to help us through the permit process,” she said.

“While we’re going through the permit process, we’re already working hard to promote the parade and get others involved, including the downtown business community. The idea for the parade came from the youth and youth will be involved in every part of it.”

Smith said the CVYS has also been in conversations with students and administration at Cowichan, Francis Kelsey and Chemainus secondary schools, and Quamichan Middle School, and they all want to partner with the CVYS to make the event a success.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN SCHOOL DISTRICT LGBTQ POLICY ‘OUT FRONT’, BUT STILL MORE TO DO

She said there was a Cowichan Pride Parade held in the Valley in 2013, but it was a one-off event that was never repeated.

Smith said the CVYS hopes to make its parade an annual affair.

“It’s an event that’s definitely missing in our community,” she said.

“We need to create more awareness all the time. We’re putting word out to musicians, vendors, speakers and others to see who wants to get involved with the event as well.”

Smith said the planned route for the parade, if the city agrees, is up James Street to Charles Hoey Park.

She said plans for floats and other parade participants will be determined as planning for the event continues.

“The CVYS is happy to coordinate and organize all aspects of the event,” Smith said.

“We wanted to ensure that we had the Duncan council’s full support in spirit before we went forward to apply for a parade permit.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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