Airdrie Pride walk aims to send message of support

·2 min read
Participants raised the Pride flag at Nose Creek Park in Airdrie on Saturday. (Nick Brizuela/CBC - image credit)
Participants raised the Pride flag at Nose Creek Park in Airdrie on Saturday. (Nick Brizuela/CBC - image credit)

Dozens of people gathered in Airdrie on Saturday to take part in a Pride solidarity walk, the first event of its kind since the start of the pandemic two years ago.

Airdrie Pride said it chose to host a walk of solidarity instead of a parade to pay homage to those who have fought for LGBT rights in the past and to acknowledge that there is still work to be done to attain meaningful equality.

Rhianne Fiolka, Airdrie Pride vice president, said that while progress has been made, there are still members of the LGBT community who face disproportionate discrimination.

Nick Brizuela/CBC
Nick Brizuela/CBC

"We really want to focus on the most vulnerable and at-risk people in our community and uphold them as a group," said Fiolka.

In addition to pivoting this year's event to a solidarity walk, Fiolka said Airdrie Pride attempted to further this goal by disallowing any kind of "second-agenda items", meaning participants were encouraged to refrain from wearing uniforms or supporting any distinct political party or corporation.

"Not having uniforms, not having any business slogans really centres [the event] on the community and sharing in that resilience," said Fiolka.

Nick Brizuela/CBC
Nick Brizuela/CBC

Those who participated in the walk met at Airdrie City Hall at 10:30 a.m., before walking south along Main Street to Nose Creek Park.

In April this year a pride rainbow painted on a pathway at Nose Creek Park was vandalized, prompting an investigation by the city's RCMP.

Candice Kutyn, a former Airdrie Pride board member who attended this year's solidarity walk, said Saturday's event was even more important given the acts of hatred the community has seen over the past couple of years.

"Every time we show up like this, either as a part of the community or as an ally, we really demonstrate that this is a safe and loving place," said Kutyn.

Nick Brizuela/CBC
Nick Brizuela/CBC

"We can't let the hate drown out the progress we've made."

Kutyn said she thinks events like the solidarity walk are particularly impactful for the city's youth.

"We really want them to feel like they don't have to leave this community to find their community."

One attendee went for the walk on Saturday with his mother.

He said that participating in the day's events was important to him because he had been closeted for some time before coming out.

"I want to make sure that people don't feel alone and that they're safe."

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