Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon recognized Pride Month Wednesday (June 2), delivering a speech to the BC Legislature.
A member of the BC NDP, Paddon talked about the importance of celebrating members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, the work that still needs to be done, and the explosion of rainbows in Chilliwack and area.
“Pride Month is a time dedicated to raising 2SLGBTQ+ voices, a celebration of culture, an acknowledgment of rights and a time of self-affirmation,” Paddon said to NDP, Liberal and Green Party MLAs. “This is an opportunity to learn, to be seen, to demonstrate pride as opposed to shame, to affirm allyship as opposed to social stigma. It’s a time to show each other how much we’ve learned about acceptance of self and of others, about inclusion and even about love, especially now, after so long apart.”
Regarding rainbows, Paddon noted that a few years ago Chilliwack had none, and now the community has almost two-dozen rainbow crosswalks. There have been two years of summer pride activities and Paddon pointed to resources now available through the Gender Support Network, Chilliwack Pride Society, Chilliwack Youth Health Centre and others.
“The work is underway, but it is not complete,” she said in her speech. “I spoke with Teri Westerby, the president of Chilliwack Pride, and he shared that there are critical gaps remaining around outreach and age-based supports. It is important to recognize the pride, important to recognize the gaps, important to put on the record that Chilliwack-Kent is growing, and our pride is blooming. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.
“For our children who are listening to our words, to our neighbours who are watching our intentions, for those I know and those I don’t, who are struggling, and as a leader who is responsible to set the example of inclusion and acceptance, I am so proud to stand in this House as the representative for Chilliwack-Kent and say happy Pride Month. Share your pride.”