Red Deer College leaders and student leaders gathered to raise a Progressive Pride Flag to acknowledge Pride Month on main campus on Tuesday.
The flag raising ceremony was attended by a small group of people, quieter than in past years due to current COVID-19 public health measures. The ceremony took on added meaning this year as speakers acknowledged the tragedy unfolding in Kamloops, B.C., where the remains of 215 Indigenous children were recently found on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
“Today’s ceremony is about celebrating identity and shared stories,” says Shannon Humphrey, RDC Students’ Association vice-president academic. “With a vision toward reconciliation, we all felt it was important to host today’s flag raising ceremony with the intention to acknowledge the intersectionality and challenges faced in society by Indigenous People and people who identify as LGBTQIA2S+.”
The Progressive Pride Flag will be flown at half-staff, along with Canada and Alberta flags, until 7:30 am on June 9, as the College community pays its respects to the 215 children who were murdered, and whose remains were recently found. Flags will be raised to full-staff at that time for the duration of the month.
“We are committed to supporting and effectively representing all members of our community while recognizing and celebrating the full spectrum of identities it encompasses. With this recognition and celebration comes the continued need for visibility,” says Humphrey. “The Progressive Pride Flag places greater emphasis on inclusion and progression while also increasing awareness of intersecting and diverse forms of oppression and marginalization. We believe the Progressive Pride Flag is a powerful representation encompassing all identities and we are proud to adopt it on our campus. This initiative upholds our dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion at our institution.”
The flag was donated by the Central Alberta Pride Society.
“We value our diverse and vibrant community of students, faculty and staff, including Indigenous learners and those who identify as LGBTQIA2S+,” says Kylie Thomas, RDC vice-president, academic and research. “Today’s ceremony was valuable for us to come together as a college community. The Progressive Pride Flag flying on our campus is one symbol that we are proud to display as it represents our ongoing commitment to a safe and respectful teaching, learning and working environment where all people feel supported.”
RDC will celebrate and recognize diversity in other ways as well:
• A Pride crosswalk located outside RDC’s Arts Centre will soon be refreshed with a new coat of paint and enhanced to represent the Progressive Pride Flag
• During evenings, the Gary W. Harris Canada Games will display orange lighting along its roof from now through Tuesday (in recognition of the victims of the Kamloops residential school). On June 21, the centre will be lit in recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day. The Centre will be lit with Pride colours for the duration of the month
• The College is also pleased to be among the locations of a Pride car parade route being organized by the Red Deer Queer Community Association on Saturday.