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KPU Richmond showing its "Pride" this summer

The campus will paint a staircase in the Pride Progress colours this summer
The rainbow pillars recently painted at KPU's Surrey campus

In honour of a summer of Pride, Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Richmond campus will have a staircase painted in “Progress Pride” colours.

The staircase at the Richmond campus is one of several projects across KPU’s campuses to mark Pride, including crosswalks at the Langley and Surrey campuses and pillars and a pathway at Cloverdale.

The work will take place this summer, starting at Surrey, where the eleven Progress Pride colours were painted on pillars above and below the KPU sign last week.

“These pillars, crosswalks, pathways, and staircases represent a public commitment by KPU to diversity and inclusion, to creating a safe, welcoming and supportive environment where 2SLGBTQ+ folx and people of all genders and sexualities feel they belong and are respected,” said Shalini Vanan, Pride Advocacy Group (PAG) co-chair and manager of Sport, Recreation and Health Promotion at KPU.

Painting concrete doesn't in itself achieve that environment, according to Romy Kozak, also PAG co-chair, and director of diversity at KPU, but it “sets up an expectation and a promise, a pledge, an invitation and an obligation to do the work we need to do to make it a reality.

“There has been significant progress over the past few decades but what has also become more evident are the huge gaps and inequities that persist among 2SLGBTQ+ people, as in our society in general, due to factors such as race, gender, disability, socio-economic background, religion, and nationality — that is, still just for people being who they are.”

Pride, for Vanan, is a time to “renew and re-energize our commitment to the struggle for real equality for everyone, especially those who are still being beaten down and living in the shadows.”

The Pride Advocacy Group at KPU has also established a student award that will be presented to an individual who self-identifies and has shown commitment to 2SLGBTQ+ activism at KPU or in their own communities. Donations are still being accepted for this award.

KPU is also working to offer more trans- and non-binary friendly documentation processes for students and is moving towards making gender-neutral washrooms more accessible on campuses.

KPU is participating in the Vancouver Pride Parade on Aug. 1. During Thrive Month in October, when KPU focuses on promoting health and wellness, there will be events that include awareness workshops and engagement sessions with the Pride Advocacy Group.

Also in October, in partnership with KDocs, KPU Asian Studies and Sher Vancouver, and with funding from the President's Diversity and Equity Committee (PDEC), there will be a screening of Alex Sangha’s new film Emergence: Out of the Shadows.