Wrapping up Pride @ GBC: how our community came together in the spirit of activism and celebration

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On Sunday, June 30, hundreds of George Brown College (GBC) students and employees marched in the Toronto Pride Parade — marking the first time our college has participated in this annual 2SLGBTQIA+ event. Our community came together in the spirit of activism, remembrance and celebration. 

“From the flag raising celebration at the beginning of the month, attended by roughly 100 people, to the Pride parade at the end of the month, with more than 170 registered GBC marchers taking to the streets of Toronto, it has been an honour to lead Pride events over the course of June,” said Ana Mateus, Manager, Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion. “It has been heartwarming to hear 2SLGBTQIA+ folks and allies share their excitement in being a part of these historic moments.” 

Over the past month, GBC’s Office of Anti-Racism, Equity & Human Rights Services (OAREHRS) partnered with friends across the college to offer an incredible variety of Pride-related events: a moving keynote address delivered by Anishinaabe activist and artist Sarain Fox; a queer sex-ed workshop; a drop-in tea and Pride-themed crafting session; a cookie-decorating session co-hosted by BSSN; and, of course, our colourful kick-off celebration featuring the reigning Miss Gay United States — AnaSTARzia. 

For first-year GBC Business Administration — Marketing student Ian Antonio Rodriguez, the parade offered an energizing bookend to a busy Pride month. Rodriguez was a key member of GBC’s Social Media Ambassador team, and attended all of the college’s events to help capture content that showcased the Pride experience at GBC. 

“My experience was surreal,” said Rodriguez. “I felt so much energy and love from everyone that attended. It was a great experience and hope many more of the students get to experience it next year." 

Greg Baross, Manager, Student Systems says participating in the parade made him feel like he was “part of something bigger.” 
“The energy from the crowds was such a boost, and you could feel the love and support from everyone and their cheering and smiling faces,” he said. “As a GBC alumni and employee, I felt so proud to walk with GBC for our first parade march; this has been something that has been a long time coming. As someone who is part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, having an employer that not only supports you but also celebrates you is such a wonderful feeling.” 

Leslie Quinlan, Senior Vice-President, People Enablement and Experience, extended her gratitude to OAREHRS and George Brown’s Pride Working Group for their tireless efforts to support the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities at the parade and throughout the month of June.

“Thank you to everyone who made our participation in this event possible,” said Quinlan. “Having GBC representation in the Pride parade, along with all the other great events and activities celebrating Pride month at the college, demonstrates the college’s commitment to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment where everyone can be themselves and can experience a sense of belonging.”

GBC marchers take to the streets at the Toronto Pride Parade