As the President of the Foundation of Hope, walking this year in the Vancouver Pride Parade evoked strong feelings of pride, appreciation, and hope for the future. 2012 seems like a lifetime ago when I first met with Chris Morrissey, founder of Rainbow Refugee, at the Trout Lake Community Centre to discuss a possible sponsorship over coffee. This was the beginning of the incredible journey we have come to know as the ultimate conception of the Foundation of Hope.
In 2014, Foundation of Hope became a registered charity; the same year we created STRUT, our main fundraising event that brought in over $50,000. Today the Foundation has granted and gifted over $100,000 to Canadian charities.
As I began walking in the parade, I couldn’t help but feel deeply emotional. This image of having flags of nations that persecute LGBT communities in the forefront of our parade contingent was an ominous, but powerful reminder that we still have much work to do. Additionally, the diversity our group represented was so important as many were Newcomers who saw the Foundation to be an ally to walk alongside. One powerful moment for me was having a newcomer bring her partner, who had never felt safe to be visible and now was marching in a public parade.
This year has been an epic year, having so many people ask to join in the walk with us. It is also a time of my own personal reflection as I approach to the sunset of my role, the conclusion where I will have served my term as President. I feel so proud to see the Foundation raised to new heights as we reach for an increased national profile with the diversity is takes to ensure we are a Foundation of the people, for all the people and all the voices that have yet to be heard.
LGBT+ Refugees we stand with you.
The 2017 Vancouver Pride Parade was a great display of solidarity and support for LGBT Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and Newcomers.
Carl Meadows, President