author: kristian ferguson | news editor
URPride welcoming others / jeremy davis
building a bigger community
UR Pride is the university’s destination for 2SLGBTQIA+ programming, advocacy, and outreach. Now, the organization is branching out into a larger, downtown location as part of their greater programming.
Emmy Ritenburg, spoke about the plans for the new space and what it will mean for the community in the future.
“My colleague Raphaële and I have been hired by UR Pride to direct the SaskQTY (Saskatchewan Queer and Trans Youth) project, which will be based out of our new downtown location titled SPACE: for Saskatchewan Queer and Trans Youth,” stated Ritenburg in an email to the Carillon.
“The SaskQTY project is being established to build a network of Two Spirit, queer, trans and allied youth across the province. Together they will learn about skill-development, leadership, volunteerism, event planning, advocacy, non-profit governance and political networking all through their interest in 2LGBTQ issues, identity and theory.”
The desired outcome of the program is clear to Ritenburg.
“The end goal of this project is to equip 2LGBTQ youth with the skills for civic engagement, community organizing, and volunteerism,” Ritenburg stated.
“Through an online or in person application process, 25 Saskatchewan youth between the ages of 14 and 30 will be selected to be part of the SaskQTY Network. These youth will be given the opportunity to participate in monthly online and in person workshops and webinars, as well as network with other SaskQTY members,” Ritenburg clarified.
“These workshops and webinars will be leading up to the first SaskQTY Gathering in Regina, SK. During this week long gathering, SaskQTY members will participate in workshops and seminars and plan their own community event or project, based on their own interests, which will be implemented in their home community. Participants’ travel and accommodations will be sponsored, and each participant will also receive $150 to fund their community project or event.”
There was also a considerable focus to keep the programs direction centered around Saskatchewan and its 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
“In order to keep this project community driven, Raphaële and I are establishing a volunteer Project Committee to help guide our work plan and keep the project focused on the needs of Saskatchewan queer and trans youth.” said Ritenburg.
Jacq Brasseur, the executive director of UR Pride, created the program to allow for skill building opportunities, a chance they said many in Regina aren’t provided.
“One piece was that LGBTQ work that’s being done in the city is often by the same people and so all the same people are on the different boards or involved in different organizations and there’s not folks who are necessarily trained or knowledgable to take over for them, and so I see my colleagues across the city who are just so tired and they’ve been doing this for five, ten years, so having young people throughout the province who are interested in learning about how to do LGBT community organizing was one piece.”
The other element of the program in what Brasseur called a “two-fold” approach is developing diverse leadership skills.
“The other piece was I think, often, youth leadership opportunities or leadership-type programs tend to be around things that are really important, but thinks like building resilience or going to school, like these sort of fundamentals, but knowing the young people that we work with at the university, students are really interested and young people are interested in developing these really strong leadership skills like media training, and grant writing, and program development, and so I think that this is an opportunity for young LGBT people to learn about those really big skills that are maybe not taught in most type[s] of leadership programs.”
The program has funding until the end of March, 2020.