World Pride Human Rights Conference

104It is with great excitement and enthusiasm to share with you all the amazing experience that I had while in Toronto for World Pride 2014.

Toronto was chosen as the host city for World Pride 2014 and as part of the World Pride event, Toronto hosted the very first ever World Pride Human Rights Conference.  With so many activists gathering in one place the feeling of being part of such an event on a world scale has been something of a life changing experience for me.

As a Canadian having spent all of my life in Canada, it was very easy to be a little naïve when it comes to the subject of global human rights. I can say with much ease that most people in this country hold fast to the idea of human rights being just that, “basic human rights”.  I sometimes ask myself why do we need to fight for a right that in reality should already exist.  Doesn’t everyone simply have these same rights?  As I attended the Human Rights Conference I soon figured out that the real reason why people are so eager to join the struggle for human rights is because many countries around the world have limited human rights.  I again question myself, how can this be? This all seemed like such a simple thing, basic respect. I thought everybody was entitled to this.  The Human Rights conference included participants from 50 different countries all over the world with many diverse people from all walks of life. As the conference continued, it became more transparent that those involved were indeed connected in a way that no one could deny: we were all human beings.

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It didn’t seem to matter that many of us spoke different languages, practiced different religions and faiths, held different occupations, and had different views on what the answers were and how to achieve those solutions.  The participants of the conference had come to this event willing to share all their experiences with one another.  They shared their stories of tragedy, expectations, triumphs and fears. Participants cited moments of growth and honesty and truth.  Five hundred people who had never laid eyes on one another before were an intricate part of each other’s lives, if only for three days.  The presenters and participants all had shared personal and private journeys that left most of us wanting to begin new conversations and form new ideas.  I had an extreme feeling of pride.  Proud of whom I was, proud to love who I was free to love, proud to be part of such an amazing conference, and most of all proud to be a human being who takes pride in her duty to understand and to care for others.

At this time, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Northwood Homecare and Northwood Inc. for their support and the members of both Diversity Committees for their encouragement.  Please know that I attended this conference representing an employer who is a leader in human rights for all.