The day that started with rain and ended with a rainbow
Friday started off gloomy. As students, community members and even a few pets found their way to Mt. A’s chapel, so did a light spritz of rain. Despite the clouds overhead, the turnout was far greater than I, a first time Sackville pride parade attendee, was expecting. In fact, I didn’t know what to expect in many regards. In all honesty, I had not heard about the parade prior to writing this article. All I knew was from the Facebook page: that the hosts were Mount Allison Student Union, Sackville Recreation, and Catalyst, and there would be a fundraising barbeque for Shinerama to close out the day. Going into this event with minimal expectations allowed me to meet new people, both within and beyond the Mt. A community, that I otherwise would not have crossed paths with. Although I often find myself regarding Mount Allison University and the town of Sackville as small, it is moments like these that remind me of just how much I have yet to explore.
The parade consisted of a short walk from Mt. A’s chapel to Town Hall, for a raising of the pride flag. This walk, although brief, gave me the opportunity to chat with some organizers and participants, one being Janie Brooks, Co-President of Catalyst. Catalyst, for those like myself who have not heard of them before, is a support and advocacy group for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community at Mount Allison University. Janie spoke to me about the re-birth, so to speak, of Catalyst after two years of COVID-19 restrictions and cancellations. Like myself, this was Janie’s first pride parade in Sackville. “It was just something that I always wanted to be a part of,” they said about Catalyst. Coming from a conservative high school, where starting a Gay-Straight Alliance was challenged, Janie expressed the importance of groups like Catalyst and the allyship of the Mt. A community. Catalyst, as a co-organizer of the parade, played a large role in its success. They also hosted many more exciting events for pride week, including a screening of Netflix’s The Half of It at the Vogue and a drag show organized by Oulton College. To keep up to date on Catalyst events, follow their Instagram @catalystmta.
By the time my chat with Janie came to a close, we had all made it to Bill Johnstone Memorial Park, where the Shinerama barbeque was underway. At this time, not only did the sun come out, but a rainbow appeared. It was truly divine timing. With the change in weather came a level of joy amongst the crowd that hadn’t been there in the rain. It started to feel like a celebration. Kids were playing in the park while others got a hot dog or slice of cake and listened to the live music of singer-songwriter Joe Hubley. As for me, I made myself useful at the grill, helping to cook hot dogs, and got myself a corner-slice of cake with plenty of frosting. What started off as an ordinary day became a festive celebration of queerness.