Langley parents plans ‘peaceful’ rally at Tuesday’s school board meeting

Langley Parents for Inclusivity speaks for sexual orientation and gender identification curriculum.

A group of close to 700 people have joined Langley Parents for Inclusivity (LPI) and are taking messages of love, acceptance, and the need for student safety to the board of education next week.

A few weeks ago, Walnut Grove’s Stacey Wakelin learned that a local women, Kari Simpson, was speaking out against a new Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification (SOGI) curriculum being implemented province wide.

READ: Conservative Langley activist opposes LGBTQ education project

Simpson had been to two school board meetings earlier in the year, and would be speaking again on Tuesday, Sept. 26, pushing to have the Langley school trustees quash this within local schools.

“We’ll be asking for a full moratorium on SOGI, full stop,” Simpson previously told the Langley Advance.

Unable to “just sit back” and let the well-known conservative activist and her relatively newly group called Parents United Canada be the only voice on the issue, Wakelin has launched counter measures.

READ: New Langley parents group stands against discrimination, intolerance

Several hundred, she said, have thrown support behind her efforts.

“It’s not even a fight,” Wakelin said.

“It’s standing up for what’s right. They are human rights,” she added, supporting the SOGI program because it offers best practices and curriculum resources for elementary and secondary classrooms.

“We formed to offer our support to the LGBTQ youth/families and educators in Langley, as debate continues over the SOGI 123 curriculum in our schools,” she elaborated.

“We stand together to speak out for love, acceptance, safety and inclusivity for all students in our schools. We are not here to fight. We are here to support and educate. Our focus remains on inclusive education and support for families in our community.”

NOTE: The inaugural meeting of Langley Parents for Inclusivity attracted about 25 people – from both sides of the issue – Wakelin said. The meeting was livestreamed.

Towards this end, the new LPI is planning a rally in front of the school district offices next Tuesday night, ahead of the board meeting.

“It will be peaceful,” Wakelin insisted of the rally. “It’s a positive thing. We’re not attacking the other side. We’re simply there to support the SOGI curriculum and the students, families, and educators… The other side of this debate needs to be heard.”

The rally, Wakelin said, begins at 5:45 p.m. The team will begin gathering at 5 p.m.

The regular board meeting starts inside at 7 p.m. She is one of the delegations expected to address the trustees about SOGI.

Since this all started two weeks ago, a number of people from throughout the Lower Mainland have reached out to Wakelin on her new group’s Facebook page or through email, and shared their personal stories of discrimination, hate, and violation.

They’ve also expressed appreciation of the SOGI curriculum – insistent, as Wakelin is, that it’s not an attack against religion or an effort to “recruit” people to be someone they’re not.

At its core, it’s about tolerance and acceptance. It’s about inclusion and education, she said.

The mother of two said she’s doing this “because there are children that need us to speak up.

“Let’s focus on what we are uniting against and work together,” she added.

“I am not looking for a ribbon or a trophy, I just want this community to be better, for my kids and future grandkids. I am also just tired of a lack of education and understanding, so we are doing something about it.”

Charlene Zablotny of Langley, was among those who joined the Wakelin in her quest, and vows to be at the rally and board meeting.

As a fourth-generation privlieged Canadian, she said she can’t presume to speak for any community, LGBTQ or other who are living with bigotry and exclusion.

But she has seen the pain many suffer and won’t sit back quietly and watch.

“So, Sept 26th… when I stand up holding a rainbow flag, it’s because I want to live in a place where I can be me, and you can be you, and we all honour and respect each other,” Zablotny said.

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