Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions and Mark Dawson, Member at Large for Alberni Valley Pride, raise the Pride flag outside of city hall on Monday, May 30. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions and Mark Dawson, Member at Large for Alberni Valley Pride, raise the Pride flag outside of city hall on Monday, May 30. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni celebrates Pride with week of activities

Pride flag raised outside of city hall until June 3

The Pride flag is flying at Port Alberni city hall this week and Pride Week activities are in full swing.

Members of Alberni Valley Pride gathered with City of Port Alberni and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District staff outside of city hall on Monday, May 30 to raise the Pride flag. The flag will remain until June 3.

Pride Week shines a spotlight on LGBTQ2+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, two-spirit and more) issues and amplifies the lives of people in the LGBTQ2+ community. Pride month is celebrated in June to recognize the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City, which were a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States. Canada’s history of gay rights began around the same time, with the first Pride Week taking place in major Canadian cities in August 1973.

Alberni Valley Pride started the week with a free swim at Echo Centre on Sunday, May 29, followed by the flag raising at city hall on Monday.

Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions thanked Alberni Valley Pride for the work that they do in the community.

“They create a community that is really welcoming to everyone,” she said.

Mark Dawson, a member at large for Alberni Valley Pride, said that Port Alberni has become more accepting of the LGBTQ2+ community over the years, although there is still occasionally backlash.

“We are making progress, step-by-step,” he said.

Alberni Elementary school planned a Pride parade on May 30 with Miss Frida, a Port Alberni-based drag queen, as part of their Pride week activities. Miss Frida is a former Alberni Valley student who brings a message of acceptance for students who feel out of place and not supported, much like they felt at school.

There is free Pride yoga on Tuesday, May 31, 7 p.m. at NIC (3699 Roger St.) under the pagoda. Bring mat, towel and water.

Other events include NTC Youth Pride kickoff at Gyro Youth Centre (2:30–4:30 p.m.) for all LGBTQ2+ youth 12 years and older on Wednesday, June 1, and a Pride social at Twin City Brewing at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 2.

Storefronts and individuals can register for the Pride Up Your Place decorating contest; send in photos by May 31 to albernivalleypride@gmail.com. Prizes are available. Locations and registration are available on the Alberni Valley Pride Facebook page, www.facebook.com/albernivalleypride.

Walk the Coast (4574 Elizabeth St.) and Witchy Woman Supply Co. (No. 16-5440 Argyle St. at Harbour Quay) both have Pride flags available, with partial proceeds going to Alberni Valley Pride.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

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