June is Pride Month, and a time for all of us at the University of Maine at Presque Isle to celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+ community. It is just as importantly a time for us to recognize the impact that the LGBTQIA+ movement has had locally, regionally, and globally, as well as the challenges that it still faces. Pride Month commemorates the protests that followed the New York City police raid of the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, one of the most popular gay bars in the city. The protests in Greenwich Village lasted for six days and helped to change the trajectory of national discussions surrounding LGBTQIA+ activism and the right for individuals to maintain and express identities that society had historically demanded be concealed and, if openly displayed, often persecuted. The first Pride march was held on June 28, in 1970; you can read more about Stonewall, the beginnings of the gay rights movement in the United States, including protests and activists before Stonewall, and the development of Pride Month here.
Pride Month provides a critical opportunity for us to think about what we can each do, individually and collectively, to be not only inclusive but openly supportive of everyone at UMPI; how our experiences and identities intersect and impact each other; and how we must, continually, work to build a campus community in which we are each engaged, affirmed, and valued in all aspects of university life.
The Rainbow Society at UMPI is a student-run organization that aims to build a supportive community for all of UMPI’s LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies in recognition of these goals. For further information about the Rainbow Society, please contact the Society’s President, Ryan Sonderman, Vice-President Cat Hoffmann, or its advisor, Sarah Coyer, Dean of Students.
Finally, UMPI is a proud supporter of Pride Aroostook and the Pride Aroostook Festival, held here in Presque Isle at Riverside Park on June 18. We hope you will join in the festivities, or find your own way this month to show your UMPI Pride in diversity, equity, and inclusion.