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Picnic En Blanc aims to white out bullying

Jer's Vision among beneficiaries for local event

The organizers of Picnic En Blanc want Ottawa's gays to support anti-discrimination charities. Credit: Courtesy of Picnic En Blanc.

White can symbolize purity, virginity or a new beginning. But on July 25 white will represent support for the anti-bullying movement when Ottawa plays host to the city’s first Picnic En Blanc.

Although several white-themed picnics take place all over the globe, organizer Catherine Soucie says Ottawa’s achromatic soiree is not affiliated with the established company that runs those events. Instead, Soucie says, she and her fellow organizers have taken cues from Montreal’s Bal En Blanc and Ottawa’s Harvest Noir to stage a “lighthearted, friendly and tolerant” event for charity.

“It was important for us to fundraise particularly for the youth,” Soucie explains. “The biggest thing right now that is trending — as it should — is the issue with bullying and discrimination between youth that is happening in our society.”

Beneficiaries of Ottawa’s Picnic En Blanc will be youth diversity initiative Jer’s Vision and AQANU, an international organization that assists youth.

Jer’s Vision founder Jeremy Dias says to be a beneficiary of the event is a “huge honour” and the evening will be “nothing short of magical.”

“The organizers of this event get it,” Dias says. “They get that anti-bullying work is complicated and hard and there is lack of people who want to invest in it. It’s an important cause that’s not always popular.”

From foodies to philanthropists to fashionistas, Soucie says everyone is welcome to join the revelers at the site which is secret until a few hours before the event — but she hints that it is near Parliament Hill. Several surprise musical guests are set to appear and the night will end with a performance by local queer favourites The Peptides.

Soucie says she hopes Ottawa’s gays and lesbians come out in droves, as she believes unique event is a “perfect fit” for queers.

“My biggest hope is that more of your readers will be involved in the event in the future,” she says. “That would be incredible. The more creative we can get the better.”

For more information visit Picnic En Blanc’s official site.