Imtiaz Popat: Surrey deserves better LGBTQ2S service as it celebrates Pride

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      I am dismayed at the desecration of Surrey’s first rainbow crosswalk just before the city celebrates its Pride on June 30.

      The crosswalk has come after years of lobbying by Surrey LGBT2S leaders.

      I am running for Surrey city council with the Surrey Community Alliance (SCA). We would like to see the crosswalk in a more prominent location.

      An SCA majority city council will also make sure that the Pride flag is also flown as a part of the celebration of Surrey Pride. For many years, this is also something that community leaders have been demanding.

      As Surrey celebrates Pride, the SCA promises to look at expanding its programs and services at its community centres to be more inclusive to the diverse communities including programs and services for LGBT2S, Indigenous, newcomer, and low-income communities.

      Toronto’s 519 Church Street Community Centre is good model for offering services to these residents. In fact, is serves as the LGBT2S Centre for the Greater Toronto Area.

      According to the 519 website, the City of Toronto owns the building and provides core funding for maintenance, management, and administration. The city also partially funds some of the centre’s programs, along with contributions from several other organizations, foundations, and private donors.

      The City of Vancouver funds similar programs and services, such as the Carnegie and Britannia community centres, for Indigenous, newcomer, and low-income communities in the Downtown Eastside and in East Vancouver.

      Imtiaz Popat is a long-time equal-rights advocate who is running for Surrey city council with the Surrey Community Alliance (SCA) along with Doug Elford, Saria Aujla, Bernie Sheppard, and Asad Syed; Niovi Patsicakis is running on the SCA slate for Surrey school board.