Last week, on Thursday, July 17, 2014, shortly after 12 noon, the little town of Shelburne proudly raised a pride flag and came into the 21st Century.
A crowd of people along with Shelburne Town Council members gathered under a, quite befittingly, rainbow of brightly coloured umbrellas to endure the light-to-pelting rain and witness this very historic event. Opening remarks were made by Queens-Shelburne MLA, Sterling Belliveau and a proclamation in support of Halifax Pride Week was read by Shelburne Mayor, Karen Mattatall. But the best part was having Halifax businessman, florist, gay-rights activist, motivational speaker and Shelburne-native, Neville MacKay there to speak about the importance of that day and to raise the flag.
Undaunted by the rain, Neville was a ray of sunshine, speaking about how we all are a part of the beauty and diversity that make our world such a wonderful place. He also spoke of those who were there that day in spirit, who would have been happy to see this day come.
Neville, who I remember from high school as there’s just a few years difference between us, (I remember when he had hair!) is such a great inspiration. You can hear his CBC interview here.
I was raised by a woman who believed all people are equal. And growing up, I can honestly say I didn’t know what racism was. Throughout my school years, I have had friends of all kinds – black (I truly treasure the memory of a handsome black boy braiding my hair as he sat behind me in Grade 6), gay & lesbian (you know who you are and you were my best friends). As an adult I have many diverse friends and acquaintances. Your diversity makes you unique, and also a great addition to the area. Thank you for being you!
Gay pride? Yes! Diversity pride? Hell, yes! But I’ve got Shelburne pride ’cause my favourite little town just grew up a whole lot!
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
~ Chorus of Anglican hymn by Cecil F. Alexander, 1848