CBC's Proud to Shine celebrates LGBTQ2 Manitobans making a difference this Pride month
6 community members nominated by friends, family, peers for positive impact they're making in Manitoba
CBC Manitoba's first-ever Proud to Shine campaign has wrapped, and half a dozen members of the LGBTQ2+ community have been nominated for the positive impact they're making in the province.
These six people were nominated by friends, family, peers and loved ones for making a difference in the community.
CBC Manitoba accepted nominations until Tuesday. Meet your nominees below! (Nominee biographies submitted by nominators.)
Nominator: Brit Brade
Samara has worked with 2SLGBTQ youth for more than nine years. Samara has a heart of gold and does all she can for youth.
She's planned youth dances, sexual health workshops and fundraisers. She's cooked meals, counselled youth, organized Camp Aurora and much more.
Nominator: Valerie Parker
Mary is a creative queer Indigenous actor, filmmaker and director. It's her passion to tell more stories of her people and her community, and she is currently creating a web series about a love story between two Indigenous queer women.
She also seeks out opportunities to play queer characters and starred in her first feature role in Ruthless Souls, where she played an Ojibway queer artist.
She has a huge heart for helping others and fights for those who are marginalized and discriminated against. And as a vegan, she stands against animal cruelty and exploitation. She loves her dog Yogi, her family in B.C., and is a loyal friend.
Nominator: Sophie Ashton
Maddy started The Other Skaters zine with Emilie Rafnson this year to increase representation of women and 2SLGBTQ+ skaters in Winnipeg. The profits of the zine are going toward indoor skate sessions for women and 2SLGBTQ+ people in the winter to get prizes and food for people dropping in.
The funds are also going to go toward buying skateboard parts for queer skaters who may be facing financial constraints.
Nominated by: Mahri White
James Turowski is the brains behind this year's "Queerious" art exhibition. The annual show has taken place at The Edge Gallery and Urban Art Centre for the past six years.
Through an open call, queer local artists are invited to submit their work to be a part of this group exhibition, building community and visibility among 2SLGBTQIA+ artists in Winnipeg.
Queerious was started in 2015 by Disa Haldorson, with James taking over for the past two years. He organizes and covers the costs of this exhibition while making artists feel included and excited about showcasing their work.
As an artist in his own right, he understands the importance of queer art and the celebration it deserves. The image included shows James standing with some of the work included in Queerious, with pieces by Leandra Brandson, Elis Wautier, Aurora Thiessen, Shay Head and John Russell Millar.
Nominated by: Susie Erjavec Parker
Mackenzie Kolton has been passionate about contributing to the 2SLGBTQ+ community since starting a gay-straight alliance in her Catholic high school. Mackenzie then created Get REAL MB, an after-school program for queer youth dedicated to creating an inclusive space for 2SLGBTQ+ kids to be themselves.
Mackenzie speaks to youth in local schools about diversity, acceptance and how to make a difference. This spring, Mackenzie spoke alongside Spencer West at the virtual Born This Way conference in Toronto. Her biggest message: be the best version of yourself and don't let anyone tell you how to define yourself.
She is also a part of Big Brothers, Big Sisters Winnipeg, running their PRISM Program. The feedback from one student in the program motivates her every day. He wrote: "Mackenzie and the team gave me the opportunity to carry a Pride banner and I've never felt more like myself. They taught me the importance of smiling everyday and gave me the chance to be me."
Mackenzie recently starred in Royal MTC's production of Fun Home, a 2SLGBTQ+ musical, playing "medium" Alison Bechdel, the lesbian cartoonist, where she got to take her messages to the stage and to the masses.
Nominator: Alex Rowney
Heather Pacaud is an active member of the Pride community.