Jonathan Belgrave had an unforgettable kick off to his Pride Month celebrations this week when he was honoured at the 10th-annual Niagara Unity Awards.
Presented Wednesday, May 31, the awards recognize the successes of individuals and groups that have made an impact on the local Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (2SLGBTQ+) communities.
Belgrave, Brock’s Digital and Social Media Marketing Specialist in Professional and Continuing Studies, received the Ed Eldred Unity Award, which annually honours an individual who works toward uniting the 2SLGBTQ+ community and raising public and professional awareness in Niagara.
He received the honour for his work with Pride Niagara, an organization that supports, informs and hosts events for the 2SLGBTQ+ communities and their allies in the region.
As a volunteer, contributor and sponsor with the organization, Belgrave has provided his professional skills in photography to capture and share the events Pride Niagara produces. He is also a current member of the Pride Leadership Committee for Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre.
“Supporting Pride Niagara has gone hand-in-hand with supporting my personal and professional life,” said Belgrave. “When I first started off, Niagara’s Pride celebration was one day, and I just wanted to help support the cause by capturing photos of the activities. As the celebration grew, I’ve grown with it.”
Along with being a sponsor for Pride Niagara’s weeklong 2023 Pride Niagara Festival, which included the Unity Awards, Brock is living up to its commitment to foster an inclusive community, Belgrave said.
“Now that I’m representing Brock, it’s great that I’m provided with the support to be my authentic self and contribute to the celebration through my role,” he said. “It’s an honour to be recognized with other nominees who also give back to the community in so many ways. My hope is that others can see the value of contributing to diversity and inclusion in their lives, whether they are part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community or an ally.”
In addition to events taking place in the community, Brock is hosting a series of Pride Month activities throughout June.