On June 4th 2019, the West Grey Police Service attended the first ever West Grey Pride flag raising event hosted by our local town council members at the West Grey Municipal Office. Raising the flag is a statement of the commitment that police have to growing our relationships with members of the local LGBTQ2SA+ communities. The position of trust that is put into our officers is essential as they work relentlessly in our schools to promote inclusion and to stress the importance of creating safer schools for all. I am confident that through education, we will see a day where equity amongst all people will be established.
This year is the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and it is with sincere humility in which I stand before you to speak as I could only imagine directly experiencing that tragedies that have occurred. The first thing that comes to many minds when we speak of pride are the horrific police raids that occurred in the mid-nineties. This is why I felt it important to be here today. To change the dialogue….to open the dialogue…to let the LGBTQ2SA+ community know that when they see the side of our police cars and it says “Community Partners,” they are part of the community we are talking about.
As we become more geographically diverse, it is important to recognize the equity struggles some groups may face on a daily basis. Take a moment to reflect on your daily actions and be cognizant of the words you use and how they may have an effect on others. If we show a mutual respect to one another today, we will be able to teach our children about the prominence of equality by setting the example. By building relationships, we will only empower ourselves and our future generations.
There has been a significant progress made in the relationships that the pride community has with the policing community and I encourage that all business owners make it clear that their spaces are LGBTQ2SA+ friendly and to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullying and harassment. If you are witness to someone who is struggling, I implore you to stand beside them and let them know that they are not alone.
The message I wish to get across today is very simple, you are valid, you matter, and you are such an important part of our community.