The group established to create a new queer community centre in Vancouver is making steady progress, says member Tony Correia.
“The last official meeting we had as a board was really inspiring. It was amazing,” he says. “From December until now, it seems like so long ago and I’m very proud of what we did. We came to a consensus, which is really hard to do with 12 people. Trying to get all those different ideas [to] gel is really difficult but we did it.”
The Out Under the Rainbow (OUR) Spaces Society was established by a grassroots working group on Nov 30 and registered as a society in December. Its goal is to plan, build and maintain a queer, multipurpose community centre.
“We rent all these spaces in churches and community centres in the wider community,” says Correia. “If, for example, there was a performance space, then all these theatre groups would have a place to go and feel comfortable. “
Correia is optimistic that this attempt to build a new community centre will yield positive results.
“I think we got the right group of people together, and I think we’re going to get the right people together to pull this off,” he says. “I really feel like this is going to happen this time. It was just the way things clicked. People are taking it upon themselves.”
OUR Spaces will be looking for more community participation when it holds its first annual general meeting on April 19.
The meeting was originally scheduled for Mar 15 but was postponed because of the Olympics.
OUR Spaces is looking for people to run for its board of directors to replace the temporary board members that helped launch the society last fall.
“We’re hoping to have an equal representation of people from the arts, fundraising, people with political connections and philanthropic connections,” Correia says. “We’re trying to pull a bit from everything. We’re mandated by the province to have between 5 and 12 people on the board.”
OUR Spaces has already begun locating people it believes would make good board members, Correia says. But all members are eligible to run for a seat on the board and to vote at the annual general meeting, Apr 19. Memberships can be purchased for $5 at the meeting, or on OUR Spaces’ website or at Little Sister’s.
Correia believes this new centre is vital for the future of the queer community.
“Our community is growing; our community is spreading,” he says. “If this thing ends up in East Vancouver, the West End or Kitsilano we’re always going to have that space. We’re always going to have a place to go to. We have to plan for the next generation. It’s our job now to do this. We have to do this, we owe this to the Jim Devas and the Janine Fullers [of Little Sister’s bookstore]. We don’t have an excuse to fail.”