Why NSRAP Matters

Posted by Wayves Volunteer 31/10/2013

By Hugo Dann

I belive that NSRAP matters and that it deserves your support.

This Saturday, Nov 2nd, the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP) will hold its 10th annual fundraising gala dinner at the Atlantica Hotel in Halifax. The theme for the 2013 Community Heroes Gala is “We’re Here! We’re Queer! Celebrating the past and Future of LGBTQ Activism in Nova Scotia.

We will pay tribute to some of the very best in our community. Gerald Hannon, founding member of the Body Politic and one of the sharpest observers of 40 years of queer Canadian history will deliver the keynote speech. Eureka Love will host, with Elle Noir and C. Leah Cruise to dazzle our eyes and ears.

We will honour the future of queer activism in Rad Pride with the first ever RISING STAR AWARD. We’ll present the RAYMOND TAAVEL MEDIA AWARD to CBC RADIO’s Mainstreeet Nova Scotia & Maritime Magazine for fair and respectful coverage of LGBTQ people and issues, and THE TURRET STEWARDSHIP AWARD will go to the AIDS Coalition of Cape Breton for its history of activism in the struggle against HIV/AIDS and for their work over the last few years in fighting homophobia and transphobia. Finally, we will honour the Valley Youth Project as the recipient of the REV. DARLENE YOUNG COMMUNITY HERO AWARD 2013. (More after the jump...)

NSRAP is the leading  political and social development organization serving the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Queer (LGBTQ) Community in Nova Scotia. 

Throughout its nearly 20 year history NSRAP has fought and won the struggle for marriage equality, for the rights of LGBTQ parents, and for the rights of trans Nova Scotians to equal protection under the law.

Why support  NSRAP? Because we are an “Action Project!” We do a lot. Fundraising events like the Community Heroes Gala make sure we have the wherewithal to get the work of our community done. Over the last decade it has raised over $155,000. The Community Heroes Gala provides almost our entire annual budget. $15,000/year —that’s not a lot of money, but we’re a dedicated team of volunteers and we put every penny of that towards the work.

We produce events  throughout the year, almost all of them free to the public, from community consultations to events like the TimeOUT Lectures during Pride Week, Pink Triangle Day, or the May 17: International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia Rally, and the Trans* Day of Remembrance vigils.

And that’s in addition to our regular actions: working to end the ban on blood donations by queer men; advocating for fully inclusive trans health coverage; working for the health and well-being of our communities’ LGBTQ Elders; and, working towards mental health services that specifically address the needs of our LGBTQ communities.

That’s an ambitious agenda for a volunteer organization like NSRAP to take on, and we need your help. Your support for our Community Heroes Gala will provide us the resources we need to see these and other projects through.

Then there are the times that are difficult for all of us, when we need NSRAP the most. I was on hiatus from NSRAP when Raymond was murdered, yet I was never so proud of my once and future colleagues. Within hours of the news of Raymond’s death, Kirk Furlotte of NSRAP was organizing that extraordinary vigil on Gottingen Street, and Kevin Kindred was finding and speaking the words that were breaking in all of our hearts.

NSRAP was there for us then. NSRAP continues to be there for us. Last week, NSRAP released this statement to its membership:

The recent stabbing of Scott Jones has shocked Nova Scotia's LGBTQ Communities.  From New Glasgow to Sydney to Halifax, our communities are mobilizing fundraisers in support of Scott and his family. NSRAP is doing everything it can to support these efforts. Meanwhile, we will be paying close attention to the actions of police and prosecutors to ensure that they fully investigate all possibilities that this crime was an act of hate. 

Regardless of their decisions or the investigation itself, we know our community has already received the psychological impact of this terrible attack as one motivated by homophobia. While our thoughts and efforts at this time must rightly be focused on Scott and his recovery, the resolve of NSRAP is made stronger than ever to bring an end to homophobic and transphobic violence and hate, once and for all.”

These are brave words, but I believe they are meant, and that in the weeks and months ahead, our communities will see words translated into actions.

There is so much that still needs to be done. It is true that we have come a long way, but we’re not there yet. We have already changed the world! We can change it again!

Please support NSRAP. Help us to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ Community in New Glasgow, with all our communities from Cape Breton to Yarmouth. Help us to support our Elders who are living in long term care facilities. Help us to preserve and cherish and share Atlantic Canada’s rich and vibrant queer history. Stand with us in our resolve to end the violence, the discrimination, and the hate.

Please support NSRAP.

Tickets for the NSRAP Gala are $125/person. They can be purchased online here.

Editor’s Note: Hugo Dann is a volunteer member of the Board of Directors of NSRAP and a volunteer with Wayves.ca. However, the views expressed in this article are entirely his own. 

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