Contributed by Monica Alves, Special Projects Worker
Thursday, June 15th, marked the day of BC’s first ever Disability Pride Parade in Richmond. As a day dedicated to recognizing and celebrating people of diverse abilities, the energy that persisted throughout this event was strong and uplifting. The morning began with a march from the Richmond Cultural Centre Plaza to Brighouse Park, with an incredible turn out of over 1,200 people with and without diverse abilities. Despite the rain, supporters young and old came together to march for the full citizenship of Canadians of all abilities.
After the walk, everyone gathered around the stage at Brighouse Park to enjoy pancakes and lemonade, and listen to a few inspiring speeches advocating inclusion for people of all abilities. There were a staggering amount of big smiles and creative signs, held high by proud supporters.
“I’m really proud of my CP swagger and my CP swagger makes me who I am,” – Lauren Stinson, diverse ability: Cerebral palsy
A little rain didn’t stop our persons served Daisy & David from the Richmond Social Network, from pulling out their best dance moves when the drum ceremony began. One could argue they were the life of the party!
This was a historic and eye opening event, which encouraged people to unite in celebration of inclusion and diversity. Inclusion involves bringing together diverse forces, and embracing the power of diversity through respecting, valuing, and welcoming each other’s differences. This powerful message is at the heart of what we do here at posAbilities, and is something that we and the supporters at the Disability Pride Parade hope to spread throughout communities across BC.
We have undoubtedly made progress for equal opportunities for people with diverse abilities, such as more wheelchair accessibility, sign language interpreters at events for the hearing impaired, and wider employment services, but we still have a long way to go.
This celebration was followed by the Inspired By Love conference hosted by Inclusion BC at the Sheraton Airport Hotel Vancouver. The theme of inclusion and high energy carried into the keynote speeches and workshops that continued over the next two days. Our posAbilities booth even had a button maker that allowed people to create their own button with special messages on them! Overall, this was a weekend filled with the strength of supporters and shone light on an important topic we all must believe in, engage with, and inspire us.
Thank you to everyone who made Richmond’s first Disability Pride Parade a success! See you next year for another day celebrating the endless possibilities of people with diverse abilities.