As an ally to the LGBTQ2S+ community, Melany Allen believed it was important to become involved in the Jewish Federation of Edmonton’s Pride Shabbat committee three years ago.
“There’s a role for us to recognize the contributions of LGBTQ2S+ people to the Jewish community and to understand that they face challenges in marginalization and exclusion,” says Melany.
This year’s Pride Shabbat has changed to a family-style picnic at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park on Friday, June 23 at 6 p.m. The committee heard feedback that people wanted a less formal event, adds Melany.
She stresses that she is not an expert in LGBTQ2S+ issues but believes that we should recognize their contributions to our Jewish community all year long. “I think there should be ongoing conversations with people who identify so they feel included, valued and respected. It recognizes that, as a Jewish people, we are not a homogeneous group. Moving forward we should work hard to create space for their voices to be heard,” says Melany.
“We are looking to grow our committee. If there is anyone in the community that would like to contribute at any time of the year, please reach out to me and let’s have a conversation about how we celebrate Pride and how we create space for LGBTQ2S+ voices within Edmonton’s Jewish community moving forward.”
She adds that as allies, sometimes it’s our job to help create spaces and platforms where people feel safe. “As we speak openly for fair treatment and show support for members of our LGBTQ2S+ family, friends, colleagues and community members, our goal is that more people will become involved.”
If you are interested in becoming more involved, meet Melany at the Pride Shabbat Picnic or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase a ticket for a kosher-style meal at the picnic, please register before June 22 at noon.