Get To Know Kristen Rivers
July 15, 2022
We interviewed our 2022 Grand Marshals to highlight their contributions to the betterment of our communities while inspiring others to join. Read below to learn more about Tiyáltelut Kristen Rivers. Kristen is a proud queer Indigenous woman of Squamish and Kwakwaka’wakw descent with extensive governance experience and a deep lived commitment to reconciliation and advancing social and economic justice.
What does #TogetherAgain mean to you?
To me, #TogetherAgain is a celebration of being reunited with our community. It is also an expression of gratitude for those on the front lines who worked tirelessly to ensure we could return to gathering with our communities and our loved ones.
What is the advocacy and activism work that is closest to your heart?
The ability to live a good life surrounded by respect and dignity is the measurement of our progress as a society. Trans, non-binary and two-spirit folks continue to endure disproportionate amounts of discrimination and systemic barriers. This is the movement closest to my heart. As a community, we need to ensure no one is left behind and continue to fight until trans, non-binary and two-spirit folks are treated with the dignity they rightfully deserve. This work encompasses all facets of society: health care, justice, politics, education and so on. Everyone can and should take on a role in this fight.
Tell us a little about a special moment where you felt love for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community?
Around 10 years ago I was working for the charitable organization Reconciliation Canada. In the build-up to the Walk for Reconciliation, we decided to submit an application to have a float in the Pride Parade. Organizing a float can be tiring and daunting but so many folks came out to ensure it would be a success. With the support of the community, we were able to put together a float of epic proportions. I’ll never forget being on the float and looking around to see all of the beautiful, smiling Indigenous faces dancing their hearts out to the beats of DJ O Show. I had never been so proud to be both Indigenous and Queer.
If you were to share something with your younger self about Pride, what would you say?
Pride is a celebration but it is also a protest. Never forget the fight for rights and justice by those who refused to give up.
Pride is larger than ourselves, how do you center community in your advocacy?
For me, centering community is about listening and learning from others so we each can figure out what role to play in uplifting one another. Our best work is accomplished when members of our community feel included and seen.