Chestermere is painting the streets all the colours of the rainbow Aug. 20 to 26, for the City’s first-ever Pride Week – an opportunity for residents to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Two crosswalks on Marina Road, in front of city hall, will be festively painted – volunteers are still welcome to help – and the week-long event is closing out Aug. 26 with the Pride in the Park celebration at John Peake Park.
“We’re hoping to promote solidarity within the community, within residents and the LGBTQ+ community, as well,” said Joanne Mugambi, the City’s senior co-ordinator of Community and Neighbourhood Services. “We’re also hoping to get people to come out and celebrate and to know what’s out there, in terms of resources.”
Currently, Chestermere lacks resources or agencies to support the LGBTQ+ community, so Mugambi said groups from Calgary will be attending Aug. 26 to provide residents with information about available services.
The park celebration will also offer a free barbecue and free entertainment, in the form of a DJ and a youth band. Mugambi said she encourages everyone to bring a picnic blanket, hang out and get involved.
“I’m really hoping that we can have more dialogue, and also cater better to [the LGBTQ+ community’s] needs,” Mugambi said. “This would be an opportunity for them to come out and tell us what they feel is missing, and we can try and work together to fill those gaps.”
She added the City is open to suggestions for specific events or ideas to address issues observed within the community – to start the conversation, she said.
According to Mugambi, the City particularly wants to offer help and resources to parents whose kids are coming out.
“What we’re seeing right now is a bit of a disconnect – for lack of a better word – between the parents [and kids], and that’s mostly because we don’t really have the resources for them,” she said.
City Hall will feature a display at the beginning of the week, Mugambi said, highlighting ways to access some of resources currently available in Chestermere and the surrounding area. She added she hopes this week will be a spark for change and growth in the community.
The crosswalks on Marina Road will be painted Aug. 24 at 11 a.m. Around 15 volunteers have dedicated their time already, Mugambi said, and more are welcome to help.
“This is just one of the pieces of the diversity puzzle that we would love the community to be a part of,” she said.