Kingston Pride marches into Confederation Park

Close to a thousand walk in parade

Thousands gather at Kingston Pride Parade.
Kingston Pride flew its colours in front of City Hall on June 19, marking 30 years since the group began marching.
For the first time since a handful of marchers strolled down Princess Street in 1989, thousands of participants set up shop in Confederation Park for Kingston’s Pride Day celebrations. 
“Pride to me means striving to live your authentic self with courage, determination, passion, and a willingness to walk proudly towards love with others along a diverse and sometimes treacherous path,” Kelly Dear, Kingston Pride’s master of ceremony, told The Journal
Opening ceremonies began outside City Hall with an Indigenous land acknowledgement, followed by the raising of the Pride flag and Mayor Bryan Paterson’s reading of the official Pride month proclamation. 
“I’m certainly very happy to be down here at the Pride Festival this year in front of City Hall [and] sending the message that everyone in our community is valued, everyone in our community deserves respect,” Paterson said in an interview. 
By 11 a.m., crowds had gathered along Princess St. to wave rainbow flags as more than 900 LGBTQ+ members and allies marched down Princess St., including members of the AMS. 
“To be a part of the hundreds who marched and the hundreds who waved and yelled in support was something special, especially for myself who had never had the opportunity to walk in the Pride Parade before,” AMS President Auston Pierce said in a statement to The Journal. 
In a written statement, Bunisha Samuels, AMS social issues commissioner, said participating in Kingston’s Pride parade was a “great opportunity” to showcase the diversity within the Queen’s student body and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
“Community-building and allyship are active and consistent processes of unlearning and re-evaluating our individual privileges and power while showcasing support,” she said. 
The day’s festivities continued in Confederation Park with the Pride community fair. 
As live music and drag queen performances entertained event-goers, local groups like Kingston’s Sexual Assault Centre, HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS), and the Ollin Organization lined the waterfront with vendor booths.
“It was nice this year because it was a different level of connecting and collaborating,” Yessica Rivera Belsham, an Ollin representative who performed the day’s Indigenous land acknowledgement, said in an interview.
“The future seems exciting; working together,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about, working together in a good way forward with an open heart and mind.”

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