Southern Alberta Newspapers
The mayor and First Nations elders welcomed residents and visitors Saturday to Cardston’s first-ever Pride celebration.
More than 100 cheered as two Cardston-raised women raised the rainbow flag in downtown Lions Park. Representatives of groups from Lethbridge and Calgary were also on hand to support the event organizers.
“To hold a Pride event in Cardston is a very daring and bold move,” Mayor Maggie Kronen told the crowd.
But it could lead to more positive relationships, she said – in the home, at work, at worship and throughout the community.
“We are all members of one human family, born equal under the sun,” she said.
Lethbridge MLA Shannon Phillips raised a cheer when she said Saturday’s flag-raising drew more people than the first time in Lethbridge, 10 years ago.
“This shows the kind of province we want to be,” she said.
“We know Pride is a struggle,” Phillips said. “In Southern Alberta, it still comes with bravery in it.”
The cabinet minister also commended the advocacy work of First Nations leaders who spoke, including those holding a peace camp west of Cardston.
Recognizing and celebrating diversity and difference “is all part of the same conversation,” she said.
Kainai and Piikani band members told the crowd about local initiatives, including a project now gathering data about incidents of discrimination and racism affecting aboriginal, LGBTQ and immigrant residents of southern Alberta.
MC for the occasion was Devon Hargreaves, chair of Lethbridge PrideFest – which has supported this year’s Pride events in Taber as well as Cardston.
He introduced the two women – Corynna Muller and Candie Olsen – who were honoured to hoist the ceremonial rainbow flag at Cardston’s first Pride event.
“This truly is an epic day for anybody who grew up here – and grew up queer,” they agreed.
The afternoon’s entertainment was provided by another Cardston High School graduate, Rylan Kunkel, now performing frequently with New West Theatre.