OCCC to be prideful in Saturday parade

      Every year in June cities all over the country hold Pride festivals in support of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transexual, and queer community. This year Oklahoma City Community College will participate in the city’s Pride Parade June 22nd. 

       OCCC’S Student Life will represent the school in the Pride Parade.

The college participants will meet at 11:30 a.m. near  NW 44th Street and Classen Boulevard.     Last year the OCCC Pride participants gathered at 5-5:30 p.m. between NW 44th and 45th Streets and NW Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City to walk with the college pickup and pass out candy to revelers along the parade route. 

    Last year the OCCC Pride participants gathered at 5-5:30 p.m. between NW 44th and 45th Streets and NW Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City to walk with the college pickup and pass out candy to revelers along the parade route. 

      Randy Cassimus, Director of Student Life, will be driving the college parade vehicle as he has done in past years.

      “It’s big, it’s joyous, it’s fun, and it celebrates the long suffering efforts of many to triumph over hatred and bias,” he said   

      “Our community is a great big tent, and there needs to be room for everyone. Life’s rich pageant,” Cassimus said.

      In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 members of the LGBTQ movement rioted in the streets of New York City when the Stonewall Inn bar was raided by police. The riot became a series of protests against police action known as the Stonewall Riots. 

      World Pride attributes the riots as the reason Americans celebrate Pride in June.

      Samuel Bowen, journalism/public relations major, is a member of the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance club at OCCC. Bowen said he is participating in the parade with another group, Q Space, an organization that offers support to LGBTQ youth and young adults.

      Bowen said Pride is a special time for people in the LGBTQ community to be able to express themselves freely and without judgement. 

      “There are 364 days where we celebrate the general population but that day is special because we have a time to let loose and be ourselves.

      “This year is really special because it is the 50th anniversary of Stonewall,” he said.

      The OCCC Pride Parade isn’t an event exclusive for members of the LGBTQ community. Allies of the movement also enjoy the festivities.

      The presence of non-LGTBQ allies “is very important for moving equality forward,” Bowen said. “Without our allies, we wouldn’t be heard because they give LGBTQ people a platform to express issues they are having politically or socially.”

      OCCC has adopted anti-discriminatory language in its student handbook and in its Equal Opportunity policy.

      “I personally have never had any issues with any of my professors using the wrong pronouns, they’ve all been trying,” Bowen said.  

      The student body at OCCC is diverse, something Cassimus says is a goal of student life.

      “In the Student Life office, one of the five core values that we preach to all of our student clubs and organizations is diversity,” Cassimus said, “Understanding points of view that differ from yours is crucial for our school and our society to function at its best.”

      Bowen said the college does well in encouraging diversity. 

       “We have the SAGA club which promotes inclusivity within the school. It gives people a safe place to talk if they don’t have that support outside of school.”

      Students, faculty and staff who would like to show support and participate in the festivities should follow the rainbow flags to NW 39th and Classen.

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