Roger Chin and Jim VanDeventer prepare the pride flag to be flown at Duncan City Hall on May 13. (Submitted by Rosalie Sawrie)

Youth Pride parade returns to Duncan after decade hiatus

It’s been 10 years since the area’s last youth pride parade and Cowichan Valley Youth Services’s youth pride group thinks the time is right for another.

The group and supporters will be walking rainbow crosswalk to rainbow crosswalk on June 8 in celebration of diversity and inclusion.

“We were surprised to find out that Duncan’s last pride parade was back in 2009. We appreciate the youth and other community members that have come before us and paved the way so an event like this can happen,” said Sophia Palmer, a Cowichan Valley Youth Services youth and family counsellor.

“We are a youth-centred agency, and the youth have spoken and want more safe, inclusive spaces and events that reflect and include the queer and trans community,” Palmer added. “It is so important to honour the voices of the youth, they are the compass that helps our community go in a much-needed direction of celebrating diversity and inclusion.”

CVYS’s youth pride group felt it was time for Duncan to join other cities on the island in celebrating Pride in the form of a parade during Pride Month — a month long celebration for LGBTQ2SIA+ liberation.

“When the youth said they wanted a pride parade we said, ‘Of course we will make this happen!’” said Milah Smith, a CVYS youth and family counsellor. “Their voices are so powerful and inspiring.”

Registration for the parade will start at 1 p.m. at Cowichan Secondary School. The parade will start at 1:30 p.m. at the rainbow crosswalk outside Cow High at 1:30 and go down Festubert Street, Duncan Street, and Coronation Avenue to the rainbow sidewalk at Charles Hoey Park.

“Everyone is welcome and this year the parade will be human-powered,” said Sonder Haven, a CVYS youth and family counsellor. “We won’t be having motorized floats or vehicles, but bicycles, scooters, and skateboards add to the fun. Anything to aid in accessibility is, of course, welcome.”

There will be a Pride celebration at the park after the parade. If community members would like to volunteer or donate, please call 250-748-0232.

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