Watch above: Hundreds of people are circulating a letter on social media that calls Mayor Atchison’s lack of support for Saskatoon’s pride week harmful. Amber Rockliffe reports.
SASKATOON – Hundreds of people are circulating a letter on social media that calls Mayor Atchison’s lack of support for Saskatoon’s pride week ‘unacceptable.’
For more than a decade, Atchison has been absent from the city’s pride parade.
Former chair of the Saskatoon Diversity Network, Brice Field, posted the letter on Facebook and it’s been circulated by many of his international friends.
“To not have your city officials, or the Mayor of Saskatoon come down to recognize that that fight is still happening is disheartening,” Field explained.
The letter reads:
“… in 13 years, a scheduling conflict is no longer a valid reason to ignore a large, culturally and economically important segment of Saskatoon’s population…your continued refusal to attend the flag raising or pride parade is not acceptable and i will no longer put a positive spin on blatant homophobia.”
“It’s not just noticed by Saskatoon residents, this is noticed Canada-wide that he is not here. Other mayors from other pride festivals across Saskatchewan are showing up – across Canada,” Field said.
In one of the most symbolic gestures at last year’s festival in Regina, Michael Fougere became the city’s first mayor to raise the pride flag.
Atchison said he couldn’t make it to this year’s parade because he was tied up at a celebration for the Filipino-Canadian community.
WATCH: Saskatoon mayor responds to questions about pride week
“I don’t understand what the big concern is over all of this, because I think we all belong to one race, and that’s the human race,” he said.
Saskatoon’s pride parade was nearly triple the size of last year’s, with supporters from across North America coming to partake in the festivities. More than 6,000 people showed up for the street party at 302 Lounge Saturday.
With all the fun parties, Field said it’s easy to forget the pain people endured to achieve equality.
“Pride is not just a celebration – pride’s a time to recognize how the queer community has strived to exist without persecution, which is still happening here and all over the world.”
Field said he’ll continue to circulate his letter, with hope that Atchison will understand the impact of his absence.