The gloomy skies couldn’t hinder the spirits of TRU students, faculty and various members and businesses of the Kamloops community as they marched around the campus grounds in the seventh annual TRU Pride Parade on Sept. 13.
Holding signs reading “celebrate diversity” and another reading “no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us,” those that gathered in front of Old Main were raising their voices in celebration and support for individuals that identify in the LGBTQ+ community and declared TRU as a safe and inclusive place to study.
The university itself and the dean of students Christine Adam were specially recognized in an opening speech for taking action in creating an inclusive environment on campus by bringing forward trans-inclusive washrooms in Old Main, the Library, the House of Learning and the Campus Activity Centre.
Bringing these conversations to light in the TRU Pride Parade also takes a considerable amount of work, which is taken on by TRUSU Equity Committee.
“We often speak with community organizations and then we send out a ton of invitations and we design a route. We always like it to be accessible for all and we want to be sure that people have a knowledge of what goes on on campus and to feel like they’re included and that they’re able to come out and join us,” said Sierra Rae, TRUSU’s vice-president equity.
Organizations such as Interior Health, Kamloops Immigration Services and Kamloops Innovation were invited to the Thursday event. They were also joined by the TRU Wolfpack, the TRU Library staff and members of the Kamloops United Church, holding banners in the parade.
“We definitely want to promote community organizations, which is one of the reasons why we invite them to this parade because they’re so useful,” Rae said. “We also want to promote ourselves as a resource and show that TRUSU is available for students and it’s somewhere where students can come and feel included and feel like they belong.”
The community of downtown Kamloops saw its own Pride Parade this summer , which was organized and hosted by Kamloops Pride. Rae said that while the equity committee and Kamloops Pride members are separate, the committee members were excited to see that they’ve taken on the responsibility of showing that not only TRU, but Kamloops as well is an inclusive place.
As for hosting the seventh TRU Pride Parade, Rae spoke about the many students that have travelled from all over the province and the world to study at TRU.
“We have a lot of international students on campus and we have a lot of students that are away for the summer, so we’d like to show that campus is an inclusive space. Doing that at the beginning of September is the best way,” Rae said.
Despite the September rain, community members, students, campus faculty and admin marched forward against oppression to the LGBTQ+ community, making their voices heard and their presence known on campus and in the Kamloops community.