RRC Polytech’s personalized Pride design is now permanently painted on the sidewalks in prominent locations at the Notre Dame Campus, Exchange District Campus and Portage La Prairie Campus, collectively known as the Rainbow Walkways Project.
The College’s Pride design is an evolution of the Progress Pride flag that includes representation for all 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex and Asexual) community members, and includes specific Indigenous elements.
“The Pride design reflects RRC Polytech’s on-going commitment to embedding equity, diversity and inclusion, and continuing our reconciliation journey as a College community,” says Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Officer. “As an organization, we will continue to evolve our practices, policies and physical spaces to ensure that our staff, students and community feel accepted and welcome on our campuses.”
To celebrate Pride beyond the month of June and to support our on-going commitment to embedding equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do, RRC Polytech will be getting brighter over the summer!
In consultation with the Knowledge Keepers’ Council and external partners at Rainbow Resource Centre, the College has created a walkway design that includes the elements of the Progress Pride Flag and also incorporates Two Spirit peoples and intersex folx.
This upcoming rainbow walkway project symbolizes the work we have done, and the work will continue do after the paint dries.
The first rainbow walkway will be painted at the Notre Dame Campus near the bus loop entrance, and the College anticipates painting walkways at the Exchange District and Regional campuses over the course of the next year.
An Overview of Pride Month at RRC Polytech
Pride Month and Beyond at RRC Polytech
June 28 marked the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, also known as the Stonewall Uprising. This uprising was a galvanizing force for LGBT political activism, leading to development of numerous gay rights organizations, including GLAAD, PFLAG and the Gay Liberation Front. It is important to recognize this date as the struggle for rights continues – locally and internationally – and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is still subject to violence, discrimination, social and economic isolation, along with many other inequities.
Throughout June, RRC Polytech has participated in and hosted events and initiatives to support learning about the history of 2SLGBTQIA+ movements and how we can move forward together in making our campuses safer and more inclusive spaces. The following outlines some of our Pride activities this past month as well as resources to help you along your journey to understanding and allyship beyond Pride Month.
Raising the Progress Pride Flag and Adopting the 2SLGBTQIA+ Acronym
To mark the start of Pride Month, RRC Polytech raised the Progress Pride flag at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses. As June is also Indigenous Peoples History Month, the College announced alongside the flag raising that we will officially use the acronym 2SLGBTQIA+ to respectfully acknowledge members of the Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual communities and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify. Leading with 2S reflects the importance of Two-Spirit people in Indigenous cultures, which was an identity that was stripped from Indigenous people through colonization and the residential school system.
The Pride Winnipeg Parade is one of Canada’s long-standing Pride parades, and after pandemic postponement, the event returned on June 5, 2022. Hundreds of RRC Polytech staff, students, faculty, and family members walked together in support of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
As part of the Diversity Speaker Series, the Anti-Racism Committee hosted a keynote session A History of Pride in Winnipeg: The Struggles, The Victories, The Challenges Ahead, followed by Q&A with Jonathan Niemczak, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Pride Historical Society, Past President of Pride Winnipeg, and a gender, sexuality, and relationship (GSRD) advocate with over fifteen years of community leadership experience.
A recording of the event will be available to view in the coming weeks! Please stay tuned to Staff News and Staff Forum.
CMHR Film Screening and Panel Discussion
In partnership with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, RRC Polytech hosted a screening of The Fruit Machine – a documentary about the LGBT purge amongst public servants in Canada from the 1950s to 1990s – followed by a panel discussion.
The RRC Polytech Students Association (RRCSA) hosted a Pride Vigil on June 3, in advance of the Pride Winnipeg Parade, to acknowledge the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and allies who have helped pave the road to equality. The RRCSA also announced a new award and a new scholarship for students who are part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
Learn more about the award and scholarship at rrcsa.ca
Lighting up the Elgin Avenue Plaza for Pride
A new projector was recently installed above the Elgin Avenue Plaza. For Pride Month and to recognize the College’s allyship with and commitment to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community feeling heard, seen, and valued, the Progress Pride flag is currently illuminating the area.
Our learning and support for and allyship with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community doesn’t stop after Pride Month. RRC Polytech has an evolving list of resources to support learning and allyship, available online at rrc.ca.
RRC Polytech staff and students gathered to recognize and celebrate the start of Pride Week on May 27, by raising the Progress Pride flag at the Notre Dame Campus, and subsequently at the Exchange District Campus.
The new flag still honours the classic rainbow design, but adds a five-stripe chevron, indicating forward momentum, and includes the baby blue and light pink colors of the Trans flag, brown and black stripes representing people of colour, and white to represent those who are transitioning, intersex, or identify outside of the gender binary.
Diversity is one of our greatest strengths, so we strive to provide a barrier free environment for all individuals to succeed in their academic, employment, and research goals. This flag serves as a beacon of hope for many in an oft-marginalized community. It represents the College’s dedication to continue to push for change and ensure acceptance for all.
A week of live events and self-guided resources that explore LGBTQ2+ inclusion and the Two-Spirit experience.
We are excited to offer a week of opportunities for us to gather as a community, create safer spaces and learn together.
June is Pride Month and National Indigenous History Month, and at the College we have very strong Indigenous supports as well as powerful commitments through diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ2+. However, we witnessed the opportunity for education, enlightenment, and further inclusion for Two-Spirit persons. During Pride 2021 we have decided to highlight Two-Spirit identity, and provide opportunities for knowledge sharing and the creation of safe(r) spaces as we work towards enhancing inclusion and equity at the College.
The week features three live virtual opportunities as well as self-guided films and resources for you to take in. The live events will provide opportunities for you to engage in the conversation, share in our Healing Lodge, and hear lived experiences with special guests that will help us learn more about the meaning of Two-Spirit — from pre-colonization to the present. Live events will be held by either WebEx or Microsoft teams.
As you participate in this week’s events strong emotions may arise. Be sure to take breaks and practice good self-care. To assist you in this we invited Adriene Shum to record a guided video meditation on the theme of acceptance. Watch the recording here>