Today, the sixth annual Pride Celebration at Fresno City College was hosted by the on campus Diversity Club. Under a balloon rainbow and the occasional overhead jet, almost a dozen organizations and around a hundred students came together to celebrate the LGBT community.
And what a celebration it was!
The Rainbow Delegation, Planned Parethood,MEChA, PFLAG, Gay Central Valley, Marriage Equality USA, Teachers of Tomorrow, FCC History Club, Trans-e-motion, Westcare, and, of course, the FCC Diversity Club, set up booths that ringed the aptly named Free Speech area offering prizes, hand outs, information, tee shirts, swag, and a chance for students to mingle in the sunshine.
In the shade of a brightly decorated set of trees the Mock Marriage booth did a brisk business offering couples (any couple) the chance to play-act a wedding. A $1 donation to the Diversity Club entitled each happy pair a chance to deck themselves out in provided flair, a set of rings, a “marriage” certificate, a bag of Hershey kisses, and even a photo to mark the special occasion.
(“Newlyweds” Erika and Yesenia celebrate.)
The day’s festivities also featured a program featuring student speeches and performances of poetry, song, and dance. Despite some very vocal hecklers, the performing students kept their cool, held their heads up high, and put on a show that captured the essence of this very vibrant and diverse community. From an electric violin playing the Willy Wonka theme (as well as hip hop), to the energetic dance stylings of the two Queens of the day, from an acoustic rendition of Katy Perry, to a reading of Sandra Cisneros’ “Loose Woman,” from a soulful song in Spanish, to an ink-is-hardly-dry poem by a student who spoke of being afraid to come out to a world full of fear, and instead wanting others to come in to a world full of hope… the afternoon’s eclectic showcasing of talent was perfectly in line with the theme of the day:
The performances, and especially the performances that continued despite the negative attention of some loud mouthed ignorant fools, served as a very important reminder that even though our community is sometimes fragmented, sometimes beaten down and marginalized, it still preservers.
One of the last to perform, Mikey Moore sang “Come Walk With Me” which reminded the audience that sometimes building relationships and a sense of community can be hard. “Come out with me / Play with me / Try to see / I’m good for you / And you are good for me…,” but that ultimately, community is worth fighting for, worth defending…. And most importantly, worth celebrating.