Melville Millionaires & City Gearing Up for Diversity Training
Big change is on the way in a small city as both the Melville Millionaires hockey team and the broader community of Melville prepare for two diversity training workshops with Moose Jaw Pride this week.
Dawn Melnychuk, President of the Melville Millionaires, said in an interview that she was expecting all of the team’s executive, players and staff to attend with very few exceptions:
“We need to learn a lot and there’s a lot of things that we were never aware of. I think this training is a great opportunity for us to participate in as soon as possible so that everyone is aware of diversity and can be more accepting.”
Cindy Winand’s family faced issues as billets for the Melville Millionaires when a player requested to be moved out of Winand’s home because of her transgender daughter.
Since the story came out in the Leader Post two weeks ago, Winand said her family has received support from locals as well as from those they had never met before:
“I’m actually very overwhelmed at how many people have spoken up in support of our family. It’s just so heart-warming.”
Winand said that she thought the diversity training for the hockey team was a “really good step” and felt it was important that the training was happening right away “so that things are fresh in people’s minds.”
Winand was also careful to point out that information about gender and sexual diversity is not just needed in the hockey world, but that it was important in creating safe communities where people can be themselves, whatever their gender or sexual orientation.
“It’s really fantastic that our businesses and the City of Melville, have helped to bring more awareness to LGBT issues by hosting this workshop so quickly,” Winand said.
Sarah Williams, a business owner and tattoo artist at Color Me Beautiful Tattoos in Melville, helped to organize and sponsor this Thursday’s community-wide diversity training workshop in Melville.
Williams said she organized the workshop and rallied local business to support it because she believed that the community wanted to grow and better itself:
“In a small community where we pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming, I thought this was an important thing to have.”
Although she does not identify as LGBT+, Williams said she felt it was important to support the Pride movement in Melville because of her own experiences as an outsider:
“I know what it’s like to be different in a small community and for people to not understand, be afraid of you or treat you differently.”
Both training sessions in Melville this week will be conducted by Laura Budd, a proud transwoman and human rights advocate who lives in the area.
As the Education Coordinator for Moose Jaw Pride and the Saskatchewan Pride Network project, Budd has been working to support gender and sexual diversity in the Yorkton-Melville region. This July, she organized the first Pride group to march in Melville’s Railway Days Parade and has since organized a full week of events for Yorkton’s first ever Pride Week.
Budd said she was impressed to see more than 20 businesses step up to support the diversity training workshop on short notice.
“There is a genuine commitment from the community to move forward because this is not who they are. This is not how they want to see themselves or how they want to be seen by the rest of the world.”
Both diversity training sessions are set to take place at the Horizon Credit Union Centre, the same hockey arena where the Melville Millionaires play their home games.
The training session for the Melville Millionaires team will take place on Monday, Dec. 4 @ 7pm. “Welcoming Diversity in Melville” is open to the general public and will take place on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 7pm – 9pm.
For additional information or media inquiries, please contact:
Moose Jaw Pride
Feature photo credit: Public Affairs Office Fort Wainwright