Celebrate and honour diversity Sunday, June 17th at Gage Park

his year the Pride Hamilton committee has taken on the mission to bring the LGBTQ2SIA community and the city of Hamilton together by honouring the diversity that exists within our city. With many fresh faces volunteering as part of the Pride Hamilton committee, and for the first time, a transgender individual at the helm as chairperson, there has been a renewed passion to create a festival that truly honours and celebrates the LGBTQ2SIA people of Hamilton and the surrounding areas, resulting in our Park Day event on June 17th at Gage Park. The dedication from the Pride Hamilton committee has created momentum in the community, which has resulted in combined efforts to offer over 40 diverse events throughout the month, including a free workshop series. By dedicating the entire month of June to Pride, we are honouring the historical roots of Pride that began as the Stonewall riots in 1969 in New York City.

Pride Hamilton is a grassroots NFP volunteer-run organization that has worked closely with The AIDS Network to offer Pride events in the city for multiple years with very limited resources. This year we set ourselves the goal of increasing funding externally through local and corporate partners to bring Hamilton the Pride festival it deserves. Community partners have come forward and responded positively to the opportunity to work with Pride Hamilton. Through this response and with the support of the AIDS Network, we have come close to reaching our funding goal. What does meeting this goal mean for 2018’s Pride Hamilton Festival? It means we can create a diverse event with family and youth-themed activities. We currently have 20 stage performances between 2 stage areas, including aerial and fire-spinning acts, as well as over 70 diverse vendors that include local artists, business and community organizations that support the LGBTQ2SIA community. In striving to be accessible to the community as a whole, we are proud to offer our Park Day event at no charge to all entrants, plus a free BBQ lunch, and we have been able to offer subsidized booth space for qualified vendors.

Photo provided by Pride Hamilton

Additionally, by moving the Festival to Gage Park we have answered the overwhelming response from a community poll asking where they would like to see the event take place. The park offers accessibility in terms of washrooms, location, a playground and splash pad for families, shaded areas and much more. We are thrilled to have our festival located in this beloved space and view Gage Park as a place that will give our festival room to grow in the years to come.

Pride Hamilton recognizes the importance of reaching out and collaborating with the diverse community of Hamilton and is committed to facilitating this. In 2019, the committee plans to create a mentorship program for youth to sit alongside committee members and bring forward their voices and ideas. Other future goals of Pride Hamilton include becoming a registered organization that works side by side with the community to create year-round events, and to partner with Pride organizations across Ontario to bring even more events to the LGBTQ2SIA community.

We are firmly committed to making space for everyone and offering a seat at the table to those who are passionate about our vision. We are looking for more enthusiastic and dedicated folks to join us. If you are interested in being a part of Pride Hamilton in 2019 please contact us at pridehamilton2018@gmail.com.