An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
A FEW COMMENTS about yesterday’s annual Kamloops Pride Parade.
Most importantly, it was a true community event. Corporations, unions, social agencies and a number of politicians were there along with members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and among the hundreds who walked through the downtown.
There’s a sense of joy about this parade as in no other. It’s informal, very loud and a little chaotic — at one point it was stalled for several minutes on Seymour Street for no apparent reason — and people love the simplicity of it. Basically, it’s just a whole bunch of people dressing in bright colours and going for a walk, cheering, waving little flags and dancing as they go.
They carry banners identifying who they represent and placards with messages about the importance of equality. What was truly heartwarming, though, was the number of kids who both walked in the parade and cheered from the sidewalks.
They held pieces of cardboard painted and crayoned with messages about diversity, freedom and slogans like, “Love is love.”
No doubt, their parents helped them craft their messages and scribble their signs, but that’s totally okay because it shows that these kids are being raised with important values — the right kinds of values.
By the time they grow up, we won’t be having debates about whether rainbow flags should be flown in front of City Hall and whether rainbow crosswalks should be painted on downtown streets.
That doesn’t mean we won’t need Pride parades. We should always have a parade that reminds the community of the importance of unity and inclusion, and one that doesn’t need gaudy floats and marching bands — just a lot of people, young and old, dressing up and having fun, and enjoying being together.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.