Winnipeg runners and walkers have reached out to Reaching Out Winnipeg and opened their wallets.
The Winnipeg Frontrunners Pride Run presented Reaching Out Winnipeg with a cheque for $2000 in support of the organization’s efforts to resettle refugees who face persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“We’re just so grateful for this support because it means so much more than dollars and cents,” says ROW President Brent Lott. “The donation itself is obviously much appreciated and will have a huge impact on those we support. But the endorsement from the Pride Run – such a cornerstone of LGBT advocacy in Winnipeg – shows us what we are doing is gaining traction and people are recognizing it as a cause they’re willing to stand behind.”
Reaching Out Winnipeg formed in 2012 to help extricate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people living in the 75 countries worldwide where identifying as queer is punishable by imprisonment, public torture or – in eight countries – even death.
The volunteer-run organization helps potential refugees navigate the complicated political resettlement process – one that can take up to five years – and connects them with groups in Winnipeg who will support them financially, emotionally and practically until they are settled.
“What Reaching Out Winnipeg does for LGBT refugees is compassionate and charitable,” says race director Wally Mah. “We at Winnipeg Frontrunners Pride Run wanted to champion ROW’s cause because we need to help fellow LGBT people who are in desperate need of support.”
Politicians from every party were on hand to recognize the occasion including Premier Pallister: Hon. Heather Stefanson (PC – Tuxedo), Hon. Rochelle Squires (PC – Riel), Shannon Martin (PC – Morris), Nic Curry (PC – Kildonan), Kevin Chief (NDP – Point Douglas) and Wab Kinew (NDP – Fort Rouge).
“As elected officials we need to stand behind our entire community, and that includes those who are among the world’s most vulnerable.” says Heather Stefanson, Manitoba’s new Justice Minister and Attorney General. “I applaud all the runners who not only participated in the run but who gave generously to Reaching out Winnipeg to help others who are in desperate need.”
The Winnipeg Frontrunners Pride Run took place May 28.