Sunday, July 3, 2016

Pride Parade 2016

CultureLink Youth took part in the 2016 Pride Parade. It was an honour to be a part of the historic celebration of the last day of Toronto's first Pride Month.

Joining in the celebration of being proud of who we are.

CJ all decked out for the parade.

It was doubly meaningful for us to be a part of the parade because the youth at CultureLink believe that it is important to be inclusive and supportive of people from diverse backgrounds, regardless of their sexual orientation and self-identity.

"I joined the pride parade not just out of the need to celebrate my queerness and difference from others but to protest my right to be free of persecution and live my life with free of discrimination and prejudice." - CJ (18 y.o.)

Lynda and Shania hiding from the sun
We were also there to remember the lives that were lost in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016.

It was a one-of-a-kind experience. For many of the youth, a parade like this, to celebrate inclusiveness and diversity is unheard where we come from. Our participation in a celebration like this reaffirms the importance for us to learn to respect others, and stand up against discrimination in its different forms. 

Daryl and Amanuel looking cool!

"Participating at the pride was a big deal for me since it was my first time supporting the LGBT community like that in public. I had a lot of fun and felt like for an instant everyone was loving each other without discrimination. I'm personally straight but I'm open minded and I think that love is love without any differences. At this year's Pride, the Prime Minister, the Premiere and the Mayor of Toronto marched along all the people and supported the LGBT community proudly. I suggest you all to participate at the next Pride!" - Amanuel (17 y.o.)

At the Parade, we shared sparkles with the parade-go-ers. Everyone was in a celebratory mood. There were also a lot of high-fiving, cheers, and photos and selfies-taking going around. excitement was highly contagious!

"It was a great experience for me... I enjoyed it!" - Daryl (18 y.o.)

Standing proud with our peers from Toronto Community Centres

Best friends hanging out together!
CultureLink Youth Programs provide a positive space (LGBTQ+) youth (aged 14-29) seeking discrimination-free and culturally-inclusive services regardless of immigration status. Programs include: settlement services, community engagement, environmental stewardship and gardening, leadership and volunteer opportunities, nutrition, health and wellness, physical recreation, self defense ... and lots more.  Check out our calendar for updates!

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