FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Members of the North Peace Pride Society say that this past weekend’s 2nd Annual Pride Walk was a big success.
Several hundred participants showed up for the walk on Saturday, which began at Centennial Park at noon and ended at the green space at the corner of 100th Ave. and 100th St. There were people from all walks of life that came down to the parade, including large contingencies from the walk’s major sponsors TD, BMO, RBC, the BCGEU, and Urban Systems. Approximately a dozen members of the BC Sheriff Services also helped out with the walk, directing traffic at the crosswalks along 100th St. Fort St. John Councillors Larry Evans and Byron Stewart also participated in the walk, joined by fellow councillor and Peace River North MLA Dan Davies, while Mayor Lori Ackerman wasn’t able to make the walk due to a meeting with a prospective physician, but did arrive in time to give a speech at the green space.
Mayor Ackerman said that before last’s year’s inaugural Pride Walk, the City did receive some negative feedback from members of the community, voicing their opposition to the event. “We do have stipulations on which we approve these things, and there was absolutely nothing standing in our way, and it’s something that as the community grows, and as society has acknowledged the need so diversity and acceptance, this is something that has been long time coming,” said Ackerman. “This is about diversity and about celebrating community. We have numerous celebrations in our community, and I see absolutely no reason why this cannot be celebrated as well. I would be at any celebration that is significant to our community.”
Davies echoed the Mayor’s thoughts on the Pride Walk, saying, “It’s showing that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what you identify as. We’re all human beings, we’re all part of this community, making this community better. These are great things to show that we’re an open community for welcoming everybody anybody. And I think that’s a strength for a small Northern community to show that.”
North Peace Pride Society President Kerry France says that the society has already begun to plan on possibly expanding the walk into a full parade next year, as well as becoming more involved with more events throughout the year to help promote diversity in the North Peace.