ACC at PRIDE Parade

Written by Ruben Hernandez
Photos by Stefanie Vermillion

The annual Austin Pride Parade is a festivity that comes once a year. From across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, the festival allows self-expression in a variety of forms from all walks of life. While the Pride Parade isn’t Austin-exclusive, locals did use this as an opportunity to hit the streets and enjoy Austin’s nightlife. Many establishments, like Apple and Google, marched to show their Pride spirit. ACC was no exception to the long list of organizations that marched through downtown Austin on September 30th.

“I think it’s of paramount importance that you celebrate Pride, especially in times like these,” second-year ACC student Jacob Silverthorne said. “The point is to be loud and proud, and to remind people that no matter what they do or if they’re trying to take away our rights, that we’re not going anywhere. We’re still going to be here.”

Pride is a big deal for many. Some see it as a way to acknowledge a group of people who may not always have the spotlight. It’s a way for people to come together for a better cause.

“The Pride Parade is a celebration of our difficult past, our current place in society, and where we are going,” first year ACC Student Patrick Rodriguez said. “I feel pride is a way for people to come together and say, ‘We are gay and we deserve an equal place in the world.’ Even though the parade has evolved into many varied forms, it still shows our diverse and varied cultures within the LGBTQ and friends community.“

Not only is it important to some that the general public celebrates Pride, it is also comforting for others to know that ACC celebrates with them. Having an entry in the parade shows that ACC is supportive to those that are members of the LGBTQ community.

“Knowing that ACC is involved regardless of the political or religious rhetoric, shows me that the school supports an equitable environment that is committed to treating all of its students with respect,” SIlverthorne said. “Just simply having ACC attend, and show their support for LGBTQ rights goes a long way in making not only me feel welcome, but also other LGBTQ students as well.”

The Pride Parade is a sight to see for many first-timers. Silverthorne believes that while it may be fun to attend, there’s a lesson that attendees should walk away with.

“If someone went to Pride and had to learn something, I think that they should learn that we’re just like everyone else – people who value our freedom,” Silverthorne said. “We also value our liberty and our ability to search for happiness in the one life that we get. LGBTQ lives are just as important as theirs, or anyone else for that matter.”

Due to weather complications from Hurricane Harvey, the Pride Parade was rescheduled. The Pride Festival is set for October 21st in Austin at Fiesta Gardens.

More photos of ACC at Pride Parade can be found on the ACC LGBT eQuity Facebook page.

Leadership and Diversity Conference

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Story and Photos by Ryan Fotenette-Mitchell

Thought provoking conversations took center stage at the Nov. 21 Leadership and Diversity Conference. Attendees at the Highland Campus event explored lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender issues.

Austin Community College Student Life staff member Angela Roberston discussed the main objective for conference.

“So today, our intent was to challenge students to learn to love and respect one another even when they disagree,” Robertson said.

A religious panel addressed LGBTQ issues in the context of faith and Biblical references. Michael Saenz, a student at ACC, said that we should consider a more modern approach than that laid out in the Bible.

“A lot of people are basing what they believe on what was written thousands of years ago. The views that were applied then don’t apply now,” Saenz said. “If someone loves someone else, it baffles me that its illegal for them to get married.”

Robertson talked about how she challenged students to make their own opinions and beliefs, as well as having respect for people with different beliefs than them.

“There were people that were challenged. There were people that were emotional,” Robertson said.  “And that’s kind of what has to happen. We have to get uncomfortable so that we can grow.”

ACC student Elizabeth Cognetti felt called into action by the event.

“I’ve always been empathetic towards people who struggle day by day.” Cognetti said. “It makes me want to be able to stand up and really do something about it.”

 ACC holds a Leadership and Diversity Conference every year. For more information visit the Student Life website.

 

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GAY PRIDE –– By standers observe students during the LGBTQ summit. The summit was held at the ACC Highland Campus Nov. 21.
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GETTING AQUAINTED –– Keynote speaker Clint-Micheal Reneau leads the first breakout session of the day which allowed students to share their thoughts on LGBTQ issues. Most students came from different campuses for the event.
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PASSION AND POETRY — Joe Anderson of  The Mahogany project shares his story about being gay African-American man through poetry. Students sat and watched three live performances from the group.
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RESPECT FOR ALL –– Jennifer Flowers, Student Life coordinator,  stands proudly in front of the Gay Pride flag. The flag was one of many banners to represent different groups.
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COMING TOGETHER –– Students sit in the stairway to learn more about LGBTQ issues from keynote speaker Clint-Michael Reneau. Banners set around the stairway showed support for equality.