Organizers of the second annual Pride Walk in Langley said the cool part was the number of new faces.
Not so cool was the weather, one of the hottest days of the year, which saw a few people drop out while those who attended opted to stay in their vehicles for a drive-along alternative route through Langley.
Kaide Tighe, Queer Community Collective executive director, and Ess Ravensbergen, creative director, were pleased with the turnout for the Sunday, June 27 event that began and ended in Langley City.
“Last year, when we did it, it was all our friends,” Tighe remarked.
“This year, it’s people we don’t know.”
“It’s a community event this year, ” Ravensbergen enthused.
“People actually coming from Langley, from the community, to celebrate pride, to protest their rights, and participate with other members of the community.”
A former Langley resident who went to school in Murrayville, Ravensbergen was moved to hold the first walk after temporarily moving back to Langley and discovering there was still a shortage of resources for queer youth and adults.
“It’s very personal for me,” Ravensbergen told the Langley Advance Times.
“I grew up in Langley, I went to school in Langley, I have friends in Langley. I’m the only out person I know [in the local community].”
Because of pandemic restrictions on public gatherings, participation was limited to 50 people, who registered by booking free tickets online.
While all 50 were snapped up in a short period of time, there were about 20 no-shows on the day as a result of the heat wave.
It was still almost triple the attendance from the first year, Ravensbergen noted.
“Any opportunity for people in Langley to come together like this is a good thing.”
Both Ravensbergen and Tighe expect to hold a much larger version of the event next year, when the pandemic is over.
Langley City mayor Val van den Broek, who attended the walk, would like next year to be a “huge Pride event in downtown Langley, so that we can show we welcome everyone in our community.”
Aldergrove resident Jodi Higgs, and daughters Tessa Hawk and Sullivan Hawk, called it an “important” show of support.
“I think it’s important to give the message that love is love,” Higgs commented.
“I think it’s important, as a family.”
Another participant was former Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag, who said he was “very pleased” with the turnout, considering the challenges of the pandemic and the heat wave.
Aldag, who will be running against current MP Tamara Jansen in a bid to regain his seat in the next election, had his picture taken with a pride flag and posted a message of support to his Facebook page.
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