Sault Ste. Marie Pridefest 2019 kicked off Sunday morning with a flag raising at the Civic Centre.
This year, the flag was raised by Albert Larieviere, who was accompanied by his daughter Makenna, in honour of his wife Kristy.
Kristy, who was a big advocate in the local LGBTQS2+ community and was on the Pride Committee, passed away at the end of May due to a brain aneurysm.
“She was part of the pride committee this year, which she was really excited about,” he told SaultOnline, “so (when) they came a few days after she passed and asked if I’d like to raise the flag in her honour, I couldn’t pass it up, because it’s really a great honour to be asked.”
“We had a young lady that started out on our committee this year, a very passionate woman, Kristy Larieviere, that was an amazing human being that showed acceptance and showed love to very many people and there was never any question about where her heart and her ideals laid right away,” Event Organizer Susan Rajamaki said in an emotional speech prior to the flag raising.
“She was there to support anybody and everybody. So today, we’ve asked her husband, in her honour,in her celebration, to raise the flag along with the Mayor, in a celebration of who she was and let’s not forget who she was and how much she put forward for this community. As long as we keep on honouring her in this way and moving forward with her passion in our hearts, she won’t be forgotten.”
Larieviere said being able to raise the flag in honour of his wife meant everything to him.
“To my wife, love wasn’t a word that was used lightly, so if she used the word love, if she told you she loved you, then it meant something. So to have everybody should be able to love whoever they want and however they want.”