To all Red River College students and staff,
June is a milestone month at the College. It is typically the end of the school year, the start of summer and graduation for many of our students. It is also a time when we celebrate Pride, where the world’s LGBTQ2+ communities come together in strength, struggle and accomplishment.
June is very different this year – for all of us at RRC and beyond. The immense upheaval caused by COVID-19 means Pride celebrations, like the Winnipeg Pride Parade, have been postponed until the fall.
But while we may not be able to march together, it is important we mark the occasion.
In these turbulent times, I’m going to take a moment to remember that Pride’s history is rooted in protest and the fight for fairness, change and social justice. I am forever grateful for this legacy, for the determination, courage and achievements of those who came before us and fought for our equality and human rights.
What is happening south of our border – and within our own country – is a different fight for equality. Against this backdrop, Pride reminds us how important it is to stand up for diversity, inclusion and equality – and in solidarity against prejudice, intolerance and injustice.
It isn’t about saying that each struggle for change is the same. They are not. The experiences of black people are their own. As such, this means we have a role to play in listening to and learning from black voices in our community. It is about recognizing that profound and lasting societal change is extremely difficult to achieve and often begins with the right to gather in protest.
Pride Month reminds us that we have much to learn from one another. It is an opportunity to express and value our diversity, and challenge the barriers that people of different sexual and gender identities, orientations, and expressions still face each and every day. This struggle is not over – it is a journey of a million steps along the road of progress.
I am proud of the work our faculty, staff and students have done to create a safe campus environment founded in respect, equity and support. I know we still have a lot of work to do – and I know we will do that work together.
When Winnipeg gathers to march this September, I hope you will join my wife and I in celebrating the many faces of Pride – both at Red River College and in our community.
Christine E. Watson Ph.D. | Interim President and CEO
Red River College of Applied Arts, Science and Technology
Watch Christine’s video message here: