An Unexpected and Heart-Warming Story of Caring and Soul Sisterhood

Students of Merritt Secondary March in Pride Parade and Meet the Prime Minister

By Susan Braverman

It seems like only yesterday when we were having such a BLAST at Vancouver Pride Fest. It was a magical time of being out in the community, and meeting so many amazing people. And, though it may be over, we’re already looking forward to next year!

Vancouver Pride Parade 2018 – Sourced from Facebook

While we had other plans for today’s blog, an unexpected turn of events led us to switch things up, to share a story about caring and human connection. It’s a beautiful example of what can happen when just one person notices a need in the community and steps up to take action. It truly warms my heart!

Enter Astrid. She had called The Flag Shop to order Pride flags for the grand opening of her business, Mary’s on Davie. In conversation with one of my account managers, she mentioned Merritt Secondary School, which had made headlines in the spring. For years, the students of the school’s LGBTQ and Indigenous clubs had been planning for a crosswalk near their school, to be painted with the symbolic rainbow colours. When the school district presented the proposal to City Council, it was not approved.[1]

Rossland Summit School Celebrates the Opening of Rossland’s Rainbow Crosswalk. Credit: Chelsea Novak/Rossland News – Source: https://www.saobserver.net

As a concerned citizen seeing this in the news, Astrid wanted the kids to be loved, to belong, and to be seen. She wanted to see them marching in the Pride parade. She said, “I was so sad to learn about the struggles and disappointment of the students at Merritt Secondary.” She added, “High school is hard enough as it is, with kids looking for love and acceptance, while trying to find their own place in the world.” Creating an incredible ripple effect, the more she shared this story with others, the more support the kids received!

Merritt Secondary School Students Pose with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – Source: www.thestar.com

Merritt Secondary Students Feel the Pride Parade Love
The most exciting thing is that the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) generously opened up a spot for the students, making room for them and their supporters, to march in the Pride parade. And the Davie Village came together donating thousands of dollars for a bus to transport the group to the parade. All I can say is “Wow!”

As both a business owner who is passionate about making a positive impact, and a former school teacher, Astrid and I have many things in common. Though we only met recently, I loved her the minute we met! I am deeply humbled by who she is, and the ways she gives back to her community. She does this quietly, choosing to stay out of the limelight, and instead shining the light on the needs of others. It didn’t take long to realize we’re soul sisters. We knowingly share parallel philosophies, that there is true joy in giving and serving others, and believing that all human beings have a role and responsibility to show compassion to those in need. It’s an honour to stand alongside the champions and heroes in our community.

Students of Merritt Secondary School

I’m so grateful for the chance to equip the students with everything they needed for the parade. We were thrilled to donate the banner they carried as they marched, and of course, the handheld Pride flags, too! Way to express yourself at the parade, Panther Pride of Merritt Secondary – we’re so proud of you!

Source:
[1] https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/rejected-rainbow-crosswalk-in-merritt-b-c-sparks-broader-community-support-1.3833271