Town to consider diversity committee


Deep River council will take a look at possible “sensitivity training” and the creation of a diversity committee at its next strategic planning session later this summer.

The decision to do so came last week following a presentation by Brie Birdsell, founder of Deep River Queer Connection, and in the wake of a sign that had had been posted leading up to Pride celebrations in town.

The sign, which many people described as “hateful” and “disgusting,” included a message to “Save The Children” with a demonstration planned June 17 at “city hall,” at the same time and location as the start of the local Pride parade and activities.

In her deputation request, Birdsell stated that “hate propaganda” has shown a gap in training and understanding about the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and she called on council to create a diversity, equity and inclusion committee, as well as the enactment of a bylaw to ban hate propaganda, and sensitivity training for the Deep River police service, town council and staff.

“I’m sure you’re all aware of the protest to our freedom of expression of ourselves,” Birdsell told council.

“I don’t feel it necessary to repeat the words.”

But those “words,” she went on to say, “at first weren’t seen as hateful” by the town.

“But the language used was very much hate speech,” Birdsell asserted.

“And to have that devalued from the experience by those here to lead us was really hard on the community”…

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