By Rachel Refkin
This Saturday, April 21, the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission and Union have teamed up for the LGBTQ community in the Schenectady area, with an LGBTQ Pride Walk on campus.
The Schenectady County Human Rights Commission’s LGBTQ committee approached Union as an accepting location for them to host their Pride Walk.
“We see it as a win for us, because that’s one aspect of diversity that I feel we [Union] need to do more work around,” recognized Director of Multicultural Affairs Jason Benitez.
Benitez also played an instrumental role in organizing the walk.
With this aspect of diversity in mind, the walk will not just be for members of the LGBTQ community, but for supporters of the surrounding community as well.
The purpose of the walk will be to promote and support diversity and the pride within the LGBTQ community.
“Hosting an event like this will show the campus community as well as the larger community that we are open and taking steps to ensure that these valuable members of our community’s concerns are being addressed,” says Benitez.
In addition, organizers also hope the walk will bring the issue of LGBTQ rights back to campus and stir up some missing activism by placing emphasis on diversity.
“Currently on campus there is Iris House, but other than that many LGBTQers find it challenging to find a niche on campus,” says a former member of Iris House Jessica Sarrantonio ‘12. Benitez explained that there is a new club on campus forming to fill this void.
This new group, the Student Ally Program, is an initiative of both students and Ally professors.
The group hopes to host an open discussion and training session on the LGBTQ community’s presence on campus regarding how other students can help out.
The walk will begin at 10 a.m. this Saturday near Old Chapel. It will make its way around the surrounding community and end on Union’s campus.
Benitez encourages supporters to make posters and wear colors of pride, and he also strongly encourages the campus community to attend the event and show support.