News
4 min

What’s next for Capital Pride (Part 3)

In the final instalment, community members share their roles in the new Capital Pride

Members of the community advisory committee talk about what they hope to bring to this year’s Capital Pride in Ottawa. Credit: Ben Welland

In the last of our three-part series on the new Capital Pride, community advisory committee (CAC) members discuss their efforts and hopes for bringing the community together for the 30th anniversary celebration of Pride.

Shawn Robley was involved with the former Capital Pride organization as a liaison for TD Bank, one of the festival’s major sponsors.

On the CAC’s diversity: “The CAC is quite diverse, actually . . . I feel that all the necessary parties were involved in order to make the upcoming festival the best it can be to represent the widest number of people possible.”

On his skill set: “I wanted to be able to provide insight from a corporate policy point of view as to what it is that corporations look for when it comes to an organization, for example structure and governance, as well as being able to help guide the committee to avoid certain trappings that have happened with previous organizations such as the old Capital Pride board.”

Oren Howlett is the past president of the Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association and has researched queer issues in Canada.

On new opportunities: “I’ve heard and been on the periphery of things that have happened in the past and the reason why I want to get involved this year was because I felt like it was something different. I felt excited about what the plan was for this year and the vision and the way in which it was being put together. I think that sort of change and the positive intention behind it will be a signal to the community and I think hopefully bring those people in, to know that you’re wanted for your help and there are a lot of new faces at the table who want to bring in new and different people who may not have been engaged previously.”

Sarah Evans is the women’s coordinator for Public Service Pride, a board member of the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights and founder of Women in the City.

On the CAC’s mandate: “We’re not looking to have Pride just be a core group of people and that’s it. We really have been about just creating a foundation for the festival to grow from. We were created to have a way forward and that’s been successful so far, so I can’t complain about that. I’m very happy to be a part of it.”

Glenn Crawford is the entrepreneur/designer behind Jack Of All Trades Design and past chair of the Village Committee.

On the festival’s compressed time frame: “It’s stressful for the community at large. That’s why I felt it was important to be involved in the capacity that I was able to do . . . I’m very confident that we’re all moving in the right direction and I’m excited with this next step of hiring the operations committee to take on the actual logistics of running the festival.”

Community support: “Certainly we’re going to be relying not only on the organizing committee creating official Pride events, but also on the community at large creating their own events and hopefully sort of filling in some of those blanks for what is an anniversary year. It’s important for our community to move beyond what happened last year to something positive and celebratory this year.”

Elaine Willcock has a policy background, lives in the suburbs with her partner of over 30 years and has two young children.

On joining the CAC: “I think a lot of times we forget that there are people who don’t go to [Pride] that we may want to attract and I thought this was a good opportunity to do so, to attract people who’ve never been because some of the infighting that’s gone on . . . I saw around the table quite a diverse group that represented a lot of organizations and nobody around the table was in it for just them. They were all in it to try to make [Pride] happen.”

Festival opportunities: “There’s such a need for people to come out and help us to make this a great Pride. It can’t be that we have 50,000 people on the committee and we have three people in the parade. We want kind of the opposite. There is so much opportunity to lend your voice to the parade and to really build it.”

Christine Leadman is the executive director of the Bank Street Business Improvement Area (BIA).

On her role with the CAC: “I really see myself as a consultant almost, but also a part of it. It’s a unique situation that I’m in. I’m the representative for the BIA, so my role really comes from that capacity, in bringing all the community elements together. The BIA is part of the community and the Village is in our area, so it’s from that perspective.”

Jay Koornstra is the executive director of Bruce House.

On Pride’s commitment to inclusivity and human rights: “Having been at the forefront of the LGBTTQ rights movement since 1972, my only regret is that some of my colleagues stopped the fight when their self interests were served and did not embrace the same rights for others in the spectrum of the LGBTTQ community. Thus it is not surprising that some members of the community are distrustful that Capital Pride will include them. However, I know members of the CAC want Capital Pride to be all-inclusive and not fall victim to the ‘one community’s needs are more important than others’ mentality. And I challenge all to remain steadfast in retaining the rights we have gained and fight like hell for others in our community to attain the same rights many may have taken for granted. There’s still going to be lots of opportunity for people to give their time and contribute their views for what Pride will be for 2015. So if you have doubts, take a chance. Be part of the vision. Be part of the solution.”