Many events that celebrate cultural diversity and inclusivity are offered in June, such as National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Pride Month, and Deafblind Awareness Month. We asked CLS staff members to share their experiences related to diversity. These are some of their stories.

Since its start in June 2015, Deafblind Awareness Month has aimed to share deafblind issues and to recognize the contributions deafblind Canadians.

Darren Gilchrist, Network Analyst at the CLS, wished to share a personal perspective on the importance of an awareness month for deafblind people.

“Deafblind Awareness Month goes beyond disability awareness. Deafblind individuals face unique challenges, but can be contributing members of society,” he said. “Awareness is about recognizing that we are part of the community.”

Photo of Dr. Dean Chapman at the CLS.
Dr. Dean Chapman at the Canadian Light Source.

On June 21st, Dean Chapman, former CLS Science Director, gave a talk at the CLS about his background as a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

“My father had gone to a residential school, called Cantonment School, and that certainly had an impact on him and our family. He ran away from there several times with his brothers and sisters, which was about a 25 mile hike each time, but they would always be taken back,” he said.

Chapman wanted to speak out about his personal experiences to try to keep history from repeating itself. “This should never be done again,” he said.   

The Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation was held the same day at Victoria Park to bring people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities together to help work towards reconciliation.

The Saskatoon Pride Festival was held the week of June 14 – 21st, culminating in the Pride Parade on June 22nd.  Members of the CLS were eager to show their support to the LGBTQ2S+ community during this weekend.   

Jesse Parenteau, Education Summer Student at the CLS, shared his experience at the Pride festivities. 

Three flags flying at the Canadian Light Source
The CLS was proud to fly the Pride, Métis, and Treaty 6 Territory First Nations flags in July. 

“It was amazing to see a lot of people watching the parade all along the route despite the rain, which made for a very ecstatic feeling across all of the parade floats,” he said.

“I was so touched to see so many people supporting the LGBTQ2S+ community, yelling things like, ‘Happy Pride!’ and ‘Love wins!’” he stated. “With all of the marginalization and discrimination that the community has faced throughout history, this was an extremely heartwarming and uplifting message for all members in the community.”

He also makes a point of walking in the Pride parade every year.

“I always feel strongly connected to the event and expressing my personal pride with the rest of the LGBTQ2S+ community and showing my support for all fellow members,” he said.

The CLS and its staff were happy to help support diversity in June and we are committed to maintaining a workplace that is welcoming and safe for everyone throughout the year.

This story was shared on July 18, 2019 in honour of Nelson Mandela International Day, which is a day in recognition of the former South African President’s contributions to peace, human rights, race relations, and more. To learn more, click here.  

Story by Wendy Matthews, Victoria Schramm, Erin Matthews, and Sandra Ribeiro. 

For more information, contact:

Victoria Schramm
Communications Coordinator
Canadian Light Source

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