June 16th, 2016
This afternoon, staff at our Education Centre gathered as we raised the Pride Flag and had a moment’s silence to remember the victims of the attack in Orlando, Florida.
Director of Education John Bryant gave the following remarks:
We stand here today, deeply saddened by the tragedy that has taken place in Orlando. It is with heavy hearts that we must acknowledge that this world is not a safe place for so many. And while we continue to work towards creating a world that is safe and accepting of everyone and all of our diversity, events like what happened in Orlando remind us that there is much work to be done.
We are here today to solidify our commitment to safe, caring and inclusive schools and communities where everyone is able to experience a deep sense of belonging and acceptance. We are here to affirm our support of the Ontario Human Rights Code, and more specifically, to those who identify as members of the LGBQT+ community. And we are here today, to remember those 49 individuals who lost their lives in an attack fueled by hate.
Ignorance and fear percolate in silence. Today’s gathering is a demonstration that we will not be silent. We will use our voices to speak out against hate, to speak up for those who have been discriminated against and marginalized, and we will use this great platform we have in education to teach our students about mutual respect, kindness, inclusion and acceptance.
This year, for the first time ever, Canada has named the month of June “Pride Month” – a time to celebrate sexual and gender diversity. We will be raising the Rainbow Flag to half-mast today. This flag is a symbol for the LGBTQ+ community. Its colours, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet represent life, healing, sunlight, nature, harmony and spirit. The flag will continue to fly for the remainder of this month.
Following the raising of the flag, we will have a moment of silence. This will be a time to reflect on the lives lost and those affected by this tragedy, and to reflect on our individual commitment to promoting safe, accepting and inclusive environments for everyone.