Plans are well underway to celebrate a day of inclusion, diversity and acceptance in Delta.
The second annual Delta Pride Picnic is set for Saturday, Aug. 31 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Ladner’s Memorial Park.
The event is being organized and hosted by the Delta Pride Picnic Committee, which has been recognized as an official non-profit society.
The committee includes president John Darras along with Radina Droumeva, Lydia Elder, Christa Horita Kadach and Kutrina Mosch.
“Last year because we couldn’t fundraise, this year we wanted to have an ongoing society and we applied for the non-profit designation,” said Darras. “It now means that we can fundraise. It means we can carry funds over to host more events – monthly events – like game nights, get-togethers, education nights. We want to be able to provide support to the community, educate the broader community and include more events for seniors and youth. We will see where the needs are and adapt from there.”
Mosch said the only support group for youth who are transgender is in Newton.
“It’s very difficult to get to that from here, especially the times that it is run. For older kids, the outlet for events is either through school or larger events in downtown Vancouver,” she said.
The picnic is open to the whole community and is a family-friendly event featuring barbecued hot dogs and drinks, games, face painting, cookie decorating, resource booths and a number of guest speakers, including former Delta school trustee and First Nations leader Rhiannon Bennett, Coun. Dylan Kruger from the City of Delta, Delta MP Carla Qualtrough and Delta police Chief Neil Dubord. There will also be a representative from the school district and youth speaker Hanna Kadach.
The committee said with the two incidents of pride flags being defaced at Ladner United Church in June and July, this year’s picnic has even greater significance.
“For me, last year with the amount of well wishes and support we got [for the first picnic] was very heartwarming,” said Darras. “I think it put me in a place of wishful thinking that things were better, but when the first vandalism happened it just happened to coincide with prom, so we thought maybe teen hijinks and then the second one happened and it was like, wow, there is more to this and still negativity out there.
“Then seeing the city and the school board rally and raise flags and the city deciding to install rainbow benches, it shows there is support, there is acceptance. We do have few rotten apples, but hopefully they are a very small minority and we are evolving as a people and a community. I think this year the event will have more impact. We could be scared and not put it on, but you have to stand up to the bully.”
A number of businesses have stepped up to help sponsor the event, including Lawlor Goldsmith Shoppe, Thrifty Foods, Save-On-Foods Ladner, Dairy Queen and Backroads Market.
The committee has also set up a gofundmepage and has raised more than $1,200 of a $1,500 goal.
Volunteers are also needed for the day. Anyone wishing to lend a hand or look at sponsorship opportunities can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.