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Churchill shows its Pride

June 11, 2024 News Story
Churchill - Pride

Collège Churchill High School held a school-wide assembly in celebration of Pride Month on June 7.

Organized by students and staff, the Pride event was highlighted by a drag show, a powerful presentation by Manitoba deputy premier Uzoma Asagwara, and a moving speech by a Grade 10 trans student. 

“This is our second year,” said Chantelle Cotton, a Churchill teacher and one of the event organizers.  

“This year our theme is Transcend Together. Last year we had our first Pride event and the theme was You Belong Here. Our themes are the same as the Pride Winnipeg Festival.” 

“As a teacher and an out educator, I think it’s important to amplify our voices and to show the students, staff, and community that everyone is important and this is our time to celebrate. As public educators, our job is to make sure students can be who they’re made to be. High school is about figuring out who you are and we’re about making people safe. You can’t learn if you can’t breathe.”

Prior to gathering in the gymnasium, Churchill students painted faces in Pride themes, handed out Pride flags and held a bake sale.

The assembly itself kicked off with a short speech by Churchill principal Ryan Hughes. 

“Today our focus is inclusion, acceptance, support, and showing that Collège Churchill High School is a safe place for all to be who they want to be,” Hughes said.

Next up was a presentation by Grade 12 student Zahara Czar and Grade 10 student Karson Craven. Czar and Craven detailed the history of Pride Month, beginning with the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969, a landmark event in the struggle for 2SLGBTQ+ rights in the U.S. 

The students also spoke of Marsha P. Johnson, a prominent figure of the Stonewall rebellion and the American gay rights movement.

Craven then detailed his own journey as a young trans man. 

“You can take my story however you want to, but if there’s one thing you should get, it’s that you shouldn’t feel the need to hide your true self – trans or not – just to convenience others,” Craven said.

“There are people out there that will see you as you, even though it doesn’t always feel like it. I promise you, they’re out there, and eventually you will find them too.”

Asagwara, who is non-binary, praised Craven for having the courage to speak openly about his gender journey. They also spoke to the importance of 2SLGBTQ+ allies like Czar.

“It’s important to realize that each and every one of us plays a role in people being able to be themselves,” Asagwara said. “Each and every one of us have a part to play in people being able to live healthy, happy, and full lives.” 

“What allowed me to be here with you today is just being myself. And being good with that. That doesn’t happen by accident, nor does it happen alone. There are moments, friendships, relationships, efforts that we can make that make all the difference in the lives of others.”

Asagwara’s speech was followed by performances by the school’s choir and band. The choir sang a touching rendition of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’, while the band turned in a jazzy interpretation of Lady Gaga’s Born this Way.

Drag queens Moxie and Good Medicine capped off the Pride event with two rousing drag performances, followed by a question-and-answer session. 

“I encourage you always to keep your minds and your hearts open,” Moxie said. “We are always stronger together and we need community, and we need strength right now.”


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