Pride Month reflections

Contact: Lisa J Logan

Reflecting on progress, embracing the future: Willamette honors LGBTQIA+ contributions and navigates the path to inclusivity.

As June draws to a close, join Willamette University in celebrating the contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community with a reflection on our journey towards inclusivity and support. This commemoration offers us the opportunity to honor and recognize the progress we have made while we also acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead. At Willamette University, we take pride in the welcoming environment we have fostered. We celebrate the LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty who enrich our campus with their unique perspectives and talents. Their contributions are invaluable, and we are grateful for their presence within our community.

Pride Month, historically celebrated in June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, holds significant importance in acknowledging the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQIA+ community. While nationally recognized in June, our local communities in Salem and Portland extend the celebration throughout July and August, emphasizing the ongoing commitment to inclusivity.

This month, members of our LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff Affinity Group have participated in various events including yoga in the street downtown and Drag Queen Bingo at the local library. Moreover, we plan to continue our celebration by attending Pride celebrations together in Portland on July 15–16 in the small town of Falls City on August 5–7.

This year, we witnessed remarkable milestones with over 100 graduates walking with a lavender cord at graduation and 80 students participating in Lavender Graduation. Additionally, our Transgender Advocacy Committee has renamed itself the "LGBTQ+ Committee" to better represent its comprehensive work. Our LGBTQ+ Alumni Affinity Group has already convened virtually twice this summer, fostering connections and providing a sense of community. Last but not least, the latest addition to our JumpStart pre-orientation programs, linQ, is for incoming LGBTQ+ students and allies and registration is nearly full! This program gives students the opportunity to get a head start on building community and getting oriented to living in Salem.

While we celebrate these achievements, we must also acknowledge the ongoing challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community. Across the country, state governments have enacted discriminatory laws, including "Don't Say Gay'' and anti-trans legislation. In this context, the warm and inclusive environment we cultivate at Willamette becomes even more crucial, offering a sanctuary for our students, staff, and faculty.

As we conclude Pride Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting and uplifting the LGBTQIA+ community. Together, we can create a campus that celebrates diversity, challenges prejudice, and fosters a sense of belonging for all.

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