You Belong: The Message

Okanagan 2SLGBTQIA+ Community Stands Strong with “You Belong” Campaign

You Belong
kʷu yʕayʕát kʷuʔ čn̓k̓ʷɬn̓xiʔm̓ 

In Spring 2023, the Okanagan 2SLGBTQIA+ community and its allies came together to create a powerful message of belonging and celebrate diversity. Through a community-driven campaign led by Advocacy Canada, they raised over $8,000 in donations to showcase a billboard that embodied the spirit of inclusion and acceptance. The artwork was also used to create designs for clothing, stickers, postcards, and accessories that incorporate the bold design and message.

A Community Voice for Belonging

A dedicated focus group of community members worked diligently to develop the central theme and message for the billboard: “You Belong.” This simple yet powerful statement aims to create a safe and welcoming space for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Amplifying Local Talent

The campaign took inclusivity a step further by launching a call for proposals from local artists to design the billboard. An Indigenous queer artist was chosen, ensuring diverse representation and authentic storytelling within the community.

Standing Together in Challenging Times

The billboard campaign acknowledges the current social and political climate, where divisions and targeted attacks on minority groups, including the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, are on the rise. It serves as a powerful reminder that love, empathy, and compassion remain strong within the Okanagan community.

The message emphasizes the importance of standing together despite differences and shared experiences. Highlighting the limitations imposed by a heteronormative and cisnormative society, the campaign underscores the strength that comes from unity and creating safe spaces for all. Learn more about the You Belong project at the links below.

We All Join in Together – learn about the Syilx phrase kʷu yʕayʕát kʷuʔ čn̓k̓ʷɬn̓xiʔm̓  and what it means.

Sarah Jones: The Artist – the artist’s bio.

The Art – the artist’s interpretation of the artwork.

The Community – about the Okanagan 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

The Contributors – those who contributed to the project’s success.