Yellowknifers celebrated Pride Week this Saturday by lacing up their running shoes and hitting the pavement for the second annual Rainbow Run.
A joint effort between the Rainbow Coalition, True North Rotary Club, and Yellowknife Multisport Club, the run was one of the last events of 2020’s Pride festivities in the city.
There were 107 participants who chose their own routes to respect social distancing rules. After kicking off the run at 10am by Zoom call, organizers set up a booth at the corner of Franklin Avenue and 49 Street for runners to visit while en-route.
It was a mid-morning celebration complete with free Pride flags, rainbow sunglasses, and a Bluetooth speaker blasting pump-up tunes.
Organizer Amanda St Denis kicks off the run with a Zoom call to participants. Sarah Sibley/Cabin Radio.
“It’s super exciting,” said Amanda St Denis, an organizer of Yellowknife Pride. “I get to combine two of my passions: running and LGBTQ2S+ activism.”
Pride events earlier in the week included a city-wide scavenger hunt, colouring contest, and a virtual raising of the rainbow flag at City Hall.
Events like these, St Denis said, provide representation and encourage inclusion.
“Seeing diversity is really important,” St Denis said. “Yellowknife is a very supportive and inclusive community, so it’s important for people to see that.”
Mayor of Yellowknife Rebecca Alty was one of the participants in the Rainbow Run.
“It’s great to see the Rainbow Coalition is still organizing Pride this year even with Covid,” she said. “I’m happy to come out and support and get a bit of exercise.”
Referring to two children who attended Tuesday’s flag-raising, Alty said Pride was demonstrating to youth that their community “is supportive and loving of all.”
Mayor Rebecca Alty (right) and sister Keirra pose for a picture at the Rainbow Run. Sarah Sibley/Cabin Radio.
While a time for celebration, St Denis pointed out that those participating in Pride shouldn’t forget how it began.
Pride’s origins date back to 1969, when police raided a gay club in New York City – the Stonewall Inn – and began arresting patrons, many of whom were Black or people of colour. The crowds resisted and fought back, subsequently rioting and protesting against police violence for six days.
Known as the Stonewall Riots, the event is widely considered the catalyst of the gay rights movement around the world, as well as the modern concept of Pride.
“The fight’s still not over,” St Denis continued. “There are still injustices that exist, still violations to people’s human rights for being LGBTQ2S+.
“So to recognize that it was founded on riots recognizes the struggle that existed, how far we’ve come, but still, how much more we have to do.”