A message from VCC president Ajay Patel
This summer we have witnessed people all over the world united in celebration and advocacy of Pride. The long-awaited return of Vancouver Pride (July 25–31) is an opportunity for everyone to come together again and embody what Pride means to us — as individuals and as a college community.
There is a rich history of recognizing Pride in Vancouver with the first Vancouver Pride Parade occurring in 1978. As one of oldest public colleges in B.C. (we have educational roots dating back more than 100 years), community is at the core of who we are at VCC. It is our duty to ensure our college is inclusive and supportive of all learners and employees.
At VCC, we respect and celebrate our differences, and are committed to working hard towards decolonization, accessibility, and inclusivity for all. When VCC developed our Strategic Innovation Plan, we created a bold vision for envisioning campuses of the future and providing students with the innovative and experiential learning environment VCC is known for. When everyone is elevated, we all succeed.
Part of realizing that vision is also ensuring that all faculty, staff, and students feel accepted and included in the decisions we make about our campuses and programs. That is why justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion is embedded in everything we do.
To celebrate Pride in Vancouver, VCC is proud to reaffirm our commitment to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. By raising the Pride flag at our Broadway campus and unveiling rainbow wall and window installations at our Downtown and Broadway campuses, these physical symbols demonstrate small ways VCC is highlighting efforts to make our campuses more inclusive, welcoming, and safe for students and members of the Two Spirit, queer, and transgender communities.
Since that first parade in 1978, we have come a long way in recognizing and celebrating our differences and understanding the spectrum of gender and non-gender conforming identities. However, I also recognize that as far as we have come, we still have much work to do. I am grateful for the leadership and guidance of VCC’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee and others whose lived experiences inform how we move towards a better, more equitable world. Building that world requires everyone’s participation, and so I invite you to participate, learn, and get involved in the activities and events that are happening here at VCC and in your community that enhance your education, awareness, and compassion towards equity-deserving groups.
On July 27, VCC will be hosting a community event at our Downtown campus where people can enjoy cupcakes and participate in activities. We hope to see you there!
For those who are not able to visit the new Pride installations on campus or visit our community event on July 27, I would like to leave you with this message from Shantel Ivits, VCC Department Head, Basic Education, who wrote the message that accompanies these spaces:
“The rainbow flag is a beacon of the Pride movement, which advances justice and equality for Two Spirit, queer, and transgender people. The black and brown colours represent that this movement must be rooted in decolonization and racial justice. All of our struggles for liberation are connected. We all belong here.”
President and CEO
Vancouver Community College