Author: Bonnie Heilman and Jack Saddleback

Delilah Kamuhanda’s first experience with the Saskatoon Pride Festival happened by accident. A new resident to the city and taking classes at the University of Saskatchewan, she was walking through downtown on her way home from work. First she heard the music from afar, and next she found herself facing the middle of a huge parade! She wasn’t just surprised to run into the festival, but also by how friendly and diverse it was.

So far, her most meaningful experience at Saskatoon Pride was in 2019 when she heard Omayra Issa speak at Spark Your Pride. Having grown up outside of Washington, D.C. where there is a large Queer, Black community, the experience of seeing another Queer, Black woman speak about intersectionality at this type of event is what Delilah needed to feel seen in Saskatoon.

Pride was born in protest, with intersectionality in its DNA. The movement started with the Stonewall Riots in New York City when Queer and Trans Women of Colour stood up to the persistent police harassment they had been experiencing. The movement has never stopped since;, but over the years, as more rights have been won, these roots of protest have become overshadowed by celebration. However, looking at the movement with an intersectional lens, we can see that these rights have not been equally enjoyed by Two Spirit, Trans, and BIPOC people who continue to face other forms of oppression. To remind us of this history and to amplify the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement, Saskatoon Pride collaborated with BLM YXE to create a montage of the Civil Rights Movement and other social justice movements over the past sixty years.

Our movements for justice and resistance to oppression have built up over generations. “So many people have fought for what we have today… Not only is pride an act of resistance, it’s an act of thanking them for the struggle that they put in for us to be where we are. And I cant forget that pride is a way of me celebrating people who died for me to be here and for me to say I’m Black and I’m Queer and I love everything about myself.”

As a newcomer to Saskatoon, Delilah loves the little reminders of home and culture that the city offers. Great Black-owned businesses like Jamaican Food Basket, The Global Pot, and Saba’s African Cuisine bring those familiar flavours to her palate. For tastes of Southern Black American Cuisine, families flock to Talayah’s Southern Grill. After a day of delectable delights, take a chance to check out the annual Fringe Festival, with a few performance and installations taking place on Broadway Ave.; a great place to see artists like Peace Akintade as she shares her culture and QTBIPOC experiences.

We invite you to join us at the next Saskatoon Pride Festival as we love ourselves and each other and give thanks and celebration to those who paved the way for us to be here and continue to create spaces that celebrate the true diversity of our community.