Break out your rainbow running gear and get ready for confetti!
Toronto Film School and Yorkville University are currently recruiting students to participate in the 2019 Pride & Remembrance Run – a “fun, fast, fab day” promoting community spirit, goodwill, volunteerism, and sportsmanship in the local LGBTQ+ community.
“The atmosphere is really amazing – there are thousands of people who line up to run, everyone is dressed in rainbow colours, and there are tons of people cheering you on from the sidelines,” said TFS Student Advisor Zac Schraeder, one of the organizers putting together a TFS/YU team for the Saturday, June 22 event.
“It’s a very body-positive, sexuality-positive, feel-good event. You can take part in it as a gay person, straight person, trans, queer, young, old – whatever you are, no matter what shape or size your body is, you can just come and have fun.”
Now in his third year putting together a school team for Pride Run – which is billed as the “largest, longest-running, and most fun” run of its kind in Canada – Schraeder said he and his fellow organizers are hoping to rally as much student participation as possible for the 2019 event.
“We started doing the run a few years ago, because we really wanted a way for the school to get involved in the community, but also for our queer students to feel like they can be a part of something, too,” he said of the organizing team, which also includes Talia Singer, a TFS/YU mental health counsellor, and Jessica Lorette, a Student Services coordinator.
“Most people tend to come to terms with their sexuality or gender identity or expression when they’re in school, and so you never really know who might be struggling with that or who might be dealing with things that you don’t know about, in terms of their queerness or sexuality or gender.”
To help support those students in that journey, Schraeder said Team TFS/YU is aiming to recruit at least 50 students – both those who identify as LGBTQ+ and those who consider themselves allies – for this year’s event.
“Coming out to the Pride Run, even if you’re not queer, is important, because you’re showing your peers that you care,” he said.
“Because, as we’re seeing now, queer people still aren’t treated equally. They might have legal rights on paper, but they’re still not treated equally and that’s not easy. So, this type of event is a great community builder and it’s a great way to show support.”
During the 2019 Pride & Remembrance Run, Team TFS/YU runners and walkers of all paces and abilities will be invited to take part in either the 5K run or 3K walk – both of which depart from the corner of Church and Wellesley streets on June 22 at 10 a.m., then travel west along Wellesley and around Queen’s Park Circle.
While 5K run participants loop the Queen’s Park Circle twice, the 3K walk participants do just one loop, before both groups head back east along Wellesley to finish back at the start line.
Schraeder – who plans to run the 5K – called the Pride & Remembrance Run one of his favourites among all Pride events, because of its emphasis on remembrance and bringing Pride’s roots back to the forefront.
“It’s called the Pride & Remembrance Run because it’s in remembrance of people we’ve lost to the AIDS crisis. So, for me, it’s a good way to remember why Pride exists in the first place,” he said of the run, which was founded in 1996 by the Pride and Remembrance Association – a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community.
“It also gives participants the opportunity to raise money as a team or as an individual, so you feel like you’re kind of contributing something back.”
As in previous years, 100 per cent of the charitable pledges raised towards the 2019 Pride & Remembrance Run will support select community charities, including: The 519, Aids Committee of Toronto (ACT), Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, and Inside Out LGBT Film Festival.
For more information on how you can sign up to join your fellow TFS and YU classmates at this year’s Pride & Rembrance Run, contact Zac Schraeder at [email protected] or Talia Singer at [email protected]