During Pride Month, the Pride Resource Center is using social media and other communications channels to promote activism.
Amidst the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide civil unrest against police brutality and racism, Colorado State University’s Pride Resource Center is providing important information and resources to promote activism.
The Pride Resource Center is using social media and email to stimulate meaningful reflection, conversations and actions involving equality across the spectrum, especially involving race.
Throughout June, the Pride Resource Center is featuring an “Activist of the Day” on its Instagram profile as well as live interviews with social activists and students. The center also is sending out a weekly email newsletter, covering topics such as how to practice queer allyship and the origins of Pride Month.
“With the events happening around the country involving the protests against police brutality and anti-Black racism, we want to make sure that we are centering on those issues and experiences,” said Maggie Hendrickson, assistant director of the Pride Resource Center. “Many may not immediately see the connections between Pride/LGBTQ activism and movements like Black Lives Matter.”
CSU undergraduate Haley Gonzalez, a student coordinator at the Pride Resource Center, has played a key role in planning and creating newsletter and social media content for Pride Month.
Gonzalez has been researching content for social media initiatives such as the “Activist of the Day” post and writing long-form descriptions about the activists, such as Marsha P. Johnson and Bayard Rustin.
Gonzalez, who has been working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, said the recent movement has offered a moment for reflection and learning about different ways of advocating for change.
“At the end of the day, we have to take care of our community and come together,” said Gonzalez, a psychology major. “When we all come together with different personalities and perspectives, it can be a union rather than being against each other.”
Pride Month roots
Pride Month dates back to the 1969 uprising at New York’s Stonewall Inn in which transgender, gay and lesbian people stood up to police, catalyzing the movement for LGBTQ rights. Two transgender women of color — Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera — were among the first people at the Stonewall Inn to resist arrest. The Pride Resource Center’s June 1 newsletter recounted the 1969 event, which led to six days of protests and violent clashes with police.
Hendrickson said even today Black transgender individuals, women in particular, experience high rates of homicide and police brutality. Hendrickson pointed to Tallahassee, Florida, where Tony McDade, a Black trans-masculine person, was killed by police on May 27.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide civil unrest, Hendrickson said that recent events have provided the opportunity for Pride Month to return to its activist roots, while still allowing people to be LGBTQ proud.
“Pride is not canceled this year,” Hendrickson said. “We’re just returning to activism against things like policing, anti-Black racism, homelessness and things like that.”
As thousands have marched in Fort Collins for racial unity, Hendrickson said the Pride Resource Center has used its online platforms to amplify the content of other groups as well as CSU students. Most recently, Pride Resource Center students posted a long-form video on Instagram discussing how they have been processing recent events.
Gonzalez added that the center’s Pride Month activities have allowed for a sharing of diverse personalities and perspectives.
“This is a really prideful month for us,” Gonzalez said. “We’re taking into consideration everything that is happening, and that we’re always here to support.”
Established in 1997, the Pride Resource Center provides support for all CSU community members to explore and increase their understanding of sexual/romantic orientation, gender, and identity intersection.
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