“Love is Love”: Vanderhoof holds first Pride event

A Pride parade was held around Riverside Park. Organizer Kjerstina Larsen was leading the parade. She said this event was a “human rights celebration”. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)A Pride parade was held around Riverside Park. Organizer Kjerstina Larsen was leading the parade. She said this event was a “human rights celebration”. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Group photo taken during Pride event. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)Group photo taken during Pride event. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Russell Larden and Kjerstina Larsen at Vanderhoof Pride 2022. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)Russell Larden and Kjerstina Larsen at Vanderhoof Pride 2022. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Photo booths were organized at the Pride event in Vanderhoof at Riverside Park. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)Photo booths were organized at the Pride event in Vanderhoof at Riverside Park. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
(Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)(Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
There were multiple activity booths across Riverside Park. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)There were multiple activity booths across Riverside Park. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen makes a speech at Vanderhoof Pride 2022. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen makes a speech at Vanderhoof Pride 2022. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
A Pride Parade took place around Riverside Park. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)A Pride Parade took place around Riverside Park. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

Vanderhoof held its first ever Pride event on Saturday (June 25) and there were close to 300 people who came to Riverside Park to show their support for the LGBTQ2S+ members of the community.

Kjerstina Larsen organized the event with help from other volunteers and it was an emotional day for a lot of people there.

“This event was a human rights celebration. It was not only about celebrating the LGBTQ2S+ community, but also about embracing diversity, recognizing minorities, and of course — it was about love. This is so important to foster and spread our love across the entire community — because we *all* belong and deserve to be recognized, respected and loved,” Larsen wrote in a social media post after the event.

The day was filled with activity booths, a parade around the park, speeches by Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen and Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Rodney Teed.

Thiessen started his speech by saying it was an emotional day as a community.

“I want to acknowledge our past. We as a community have worked hard to get ahead. We have found ways of working hard, of being innovative. And have succeeded in so many areas. Sadly, along with that has come along some prejudices, some bigotry and some really tough times. I want you to know, that I believe our town is changing, and we are moving forward and are growing as a community.”

He said that council has committed to three things — everyone in Vanderhoof deserves to be included and be part of the community; everyone deserves to not only be cared for, but also valued; and everyone deserves to be heard and understood.

Russell Larden, who is originally from Chilliwack and lived in Victoria before he moved to Vanderhoof in 2016. He said this event was amazing.

“I get to see a town full of love, and people who actually care. And this is the first time I have actually seen that since I came here.”

Larden said Larsen has spent the last year organizing the Pride event at her home, ordering flags, talking to Pride organizers in other towns, coordinating with Prince George.

“This has been a huge undertaking by her [Kjerstina Larsen], and people have jumped in only in the last couple of months. I am just incredibly proud for my friend.”


Aman Parhar
Editor – Vanderhoof Omineca Express, Caledonia Courier

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

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