Vancouver, BC – Today, on June 9, 2022, the Vancouver School District unveiled a newly painted Pride staircase at the Education Centre—representing the District’s commitment to creating a safe and inclusive learning and working environment for all students and staff. The colours bring a vibrancy to the District’s front steps and create a visible and welcoming symbol for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
The colours chosen for the VSB Pride Staircase were taken from the Progress Pride flag which emphasizes the inclusion of Black, Brown and trans people who may have been marginalized by the mainstream LGBTQ+ movement.
“The stairs leading up to the front entrance of the District’s Education Centre painted in Progress Pride flag colours serve as a reminder of the Board’s commitment to promoting safety and inclusivity for all expressions of identity and culture,” says Board Chair Janet Fraser.
The painting of the VSB Pride Staircase was inspired by DJ O Show, a two-spirit, Afro-Indigenous member of the Squamish First Nation who spoke at the District’s 2021 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Youth Conference. During the conference, DJ O Show shared with students how she was able to get a rainbow crosswalk painted in her own North Vancouver community.
Each colour chosen for the steps has a different meaning. Black and Brown represent Indigenous, Black and people of colour who are part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Pink, blue and white represent the trans and non-binary community. Red symbolizes life; orange symbolizes healing; yellow symbolizes sunlight, growth and new ideas; green symbolizes nature; blue symbolizes harmony; and purple symbolizes spirit.
“The colours painted on these stairs remind all of us that every single one of us has so many important parts to our identity and that we need to recognize them all and celebrate them,” says Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) District Resource Teacher Béene Savage. “To all the folks who count themselves a part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, this is here to show us that we are welcome and seen and important.”
Despite the rain today, over 100 VSB staff and students gathered outside to show their support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community and dance to DJ O Show’s set. Watch the recorded live stream event here.
Helen McGregor, Superintendent, Vancouver School District
“The colours chosen for these stairs celebrate the diversity that exists within our District. Equitable education is a top priority for the District. A large part of that is ensuring all our students feel accepted and respected.”
Deena Kotak Buckley, Director of Instruction – Safe and Caring Schools Department
"These 11 steps painted in Progress Pride Flag colours are a starting point – a celebration of intersectionality within the 2SLGBTQ+ community. We see this as a first step. The symbolism of the stairs going up shows our commitment to always moving forward in creating places and spaces of belonging for all."
Béene Savage, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) District Resource Teacher
“The colours painted on these stairs remind all of us that every single one of us has so many important parts to our identity and that we need to recognize them all and celebrate them. To all the folks who count themselves a part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, this is here to show us that we are welcome and seen and important.”