Statement from YWCA Hamilton CEO Denise Christopherson

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As a long-standing partner with the Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities, YWCA Hamilton is shocked at the display of hate and violence perpetrated against participants in the recent Hamilton Pride festival held at Gage Park. And we are outraged that our community leaders have stood by, complicit in their silence, as these crimes are committed against our citizens.

As a community, our values are under attack by a radical group of individuals espousing white supremacist ideologies and hatred towards marginalized orientations and gender identities. By allowing them to spread their targeted message of hate in our parks, our streets, at City Hall, our community leaders have given them a platform. It is our responsibility to speak out, to act, to end the tacit consent of this form of divisiveness.

It’s clear discussions between the Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities and the City have broken down. But we have to move forward. We urge our elected leaders to act in humility, to genuinely listen, to take constructive feedback, to work harder.

And we urge all Hamilton organizations, agencies and businesses to look inward, to see what we can do as employers and neighbours to strengthen our relationships with and to become better allies to the Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities. Were we represented at Pride? Do we offer safe spaces? Are we speaking out against hatred?

YWCA Hamilton will continue to offer safer spaces for discussions that work to strengthen our community, that build bridges, that move the conversation forward to being more inclusive of all Hamiltonians.

Denise Christopherson

CEO, YWCA Hamilton

 

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