by Claudia Brunson
Recently, the members of Pride organization at Millsaps have made tremendous strides in getting their voices heard around campus. The rainbow-striped international flag for the LGBTQ community now hangs from the balcony of the College Center and will continue to hang for the remainder of the fall semester.
President of Pride Kelli Randle spoke on what the flag meant for her.
“The different colors on that flag as they come together creates something very special,” Randle said. “It is a symbol that means everything is going to be okay no matter who you are, what color you are, and who you love. It’s just a symbol of peace and love.”
The goal and mission of the Pride organization is to be a safe and comfortable place where anyone can come and educate themselves on the LGBTQ community. Recently, Randle attended a conference in Oakland, California, for QTPOC (Queer Trans People of Color) that helped her change her whole perspective on this particular community. It was this workshop that sparked her interest in transforming the Pride organization on Millsaps’ campus.
“… I knew it was not going to be easy, which is why I wanted a board. I know over the past year it was put on by just one person, and it is hard doing that by yourself,” Randle said. “I really actually prefer a committee because President seems like a hierarchy. So it is slowly progressing. We have big goals for the Spring semester and the years to come. We want to serve our peers and get the campus aware of this space, and the things that I need and that my organization needs.”
Randle and the Pride organization hope that they can get the administration to allow the flag to fly year round. Randle stated that having this flag flying on campus shows the kind of community Millsaps is. She hopes that prospective students, current students, and alumni will be supportive and feel safe with this organization.
“…Higher learning, I feel, has to evolve with the times that we are in. And the times that we are in stands for people of each color on that flag,” Randle said. “So that is what higher learning is going to take, a diversity of people regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, non-binary—some of them I do not even know, but this space is for people to come and educate themselves.”
As far as future plans are concerned, Pride expects to hosts numerous community enrichment programs for any and all to come and enjoy. The organization plans on hosting events during Black History Month, and offering more knowledge and education about this community. Randle and the organization are excited about the direction that Pride is heading towards, and that students on campus are actively participating and coming to the weekly meetings. The raising of the international flag made a bold statement on campus. They want everyone to know, “We are here and we are Queer.”
Picture is courtesy of Copernicus Insight Strategy Growth.