Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Bringing ‘pride’ to downtown Chatham

The Chatham-Kent Gay Pride Association will be bringing ‘pride’ to Chatham’s downtown this year, as the organization will open a new building in the coming months.

The building will welcome programming, events, and community space for LGBTQ+ community members, families, and allies.

“This is an exciting time for Chatham-Kent,” stated Marianne Willson, Pride Association President.

“This space will help so many youth, members and families in Chatham-Kent, and will go a long way toward making our community inclusive and safe for all.”

Former Chatham resident, Bill Brokenshire, made this possible after he generously left a fund for the Chatham-Kent Gay Pride Association to secure “a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community, their allies and partners to serve the needs of our community.”

The building, which will be located on Centre Street in downtown Chatham, is currently undergoing renovations to create an open and safe space, which celebrates and welcomes diversity, and can meet the physical, social, and mental health needs of Chatham-Kent’s LGBTQ+ community.

Brokenshire lived his adult life in Toronto before passing away in 2018, where he established himself as a creative and beloved teacher with a talent for helping others.

For this reason, the community centre in the building will be known as ‘Bill’s Place.’

“This special place will honour an incredible human being, and his desire to help youth, and marginalized people in Chatham-Kent,” Willson added.

“As an organization, that’s our goal as well. The Chatham-Kent Gay Pride Association will work to serve our community through this centre. We hope the programming, social opportunities, events, and education we will provide in this space for youth, adults, families, and businesses will leave a positive, and lasting impact on Chatham-Kent.”

Chatham-Kent’s Gay Pride Association is currently seeking donations, financial support, and materials for this ongoing renovation project.

Anyone interested in assisting, becoming a sponsor, a community partner, or a member of Pride can contact info@ckpride.com or President Marianne Willson at willson.marianne@gmail.com.

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