Gay student leading forum

My name is Chevi Rabbit. Last August I was attacked for being a visible gay.

Dear Editor:

My name is Chevi Rabbit.

Last August I was attacked for being a visible gay. It made headlines across Canada, including in the Ponoka News. I’m thankful for your support in sharing a tragic common story on bullying and hate. Since last year I have been making great strides in doing my small part in creating a safer Alberta for all Canadians. While a full-time student I have been donating my time and energy to local charities the best way I know how, which is doing makeup as I am also a full-time makeup artist.

I am writing because I graduated from Ponoka Composite High School and attended your friendly neighbouring community Montana First Nations School up until Grade 9 when I transferred to beautiful PCHS. I would say I grew up both in Ponoka and Montana First Nations, plus I grew up on acreage near Chain Lakes.

At the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights on Feb. 15, I will be a keynote speaker along with many other inspiring young individuals including my good friend actress Ashley Callingbull. We will be giving our speeches at Edmonton’s Expo Centre in front of all of Edmonton’s high school students to talk about human rights. I think it sends a great message about Ponoka.

The #YEGrights Forum is a space to talk openly and frankly about issues that concern young people in Edmonton and explore opportunities for solution building, connection and engagement. You will gain insight into human rights issues in our communities, make contacts and friends as well as contribute to creating Edmonton as a community where we all belong. We’ll talk about queer rights, ableism, healing and reconciliation, and inclusion and openness in the community. Are we truly inclusive? What do we need to do to ensure all are part of the community?

I hope that my story helps someone know that it’s OK to be yourself, that it is OK to be openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. You are valued in our society. And life is worth living.

Chevi Rabbit