On Wednesday afternoon, about 40 students gathered around Citrus Lawn and engaged in activities and learned about the LGBTQ+ and Latinx community at Latinx Pride hosted by the Latino Student Forum and the LGBTQ+ Coalition.
Activity booths surrounded available tables and seating that were placed for students to connect with each other, eat and play games such as Connect 4. A variety of snacks, from pan dulce and coffee to Hot Cheetos and Mexican candy, were available for students to enjoy.
“Queer people are everywhere and they are in every culture, so we want to make sure that everyone, even if they’re not a part of our club, feel represented,” said Gigliola Davila, junior psychology major and vice president of the LGBTQ+ Coalition.
The Latinx Pride event offered many support service booths from different organizations around the University of La Verne campus. Counseling and Psychological Services, The Center for Multicultural Services and Student Outreach And Support were all there to provide information for students and reassure them that they are there for their support.
“A huge part of the community at La Verne is everyone’s identity and a lot of the clients we see their identity is a huge part of who they are and I think this is a great opportunity to celebrate that,” Reeva Paluri, doctoral psychology student and CAPS therapist said.
CAPS had information about free individual counseling services and how to get started for all students. They were happy to be a part of Latinx Pride and acknowledged the importance of having a service like CAPS at student events.
The Center for Multicultural Services offered stickers for the different identities as well as conversations to educate students on what the different terms and flags mean for the LGBTQ+.
“A lot of times queer identities or LGBTQ+ aren’t necessarily associated with people of color, so this is why we wanted to do the event,” Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs and Black Student Services Alesha Knox said.
LSF and the LGBTQ+ Coalition provided different projects to engage in, such as bracelet making and button making. They supplied illustrations of flags with different variations, so students could create their own flags by combining culture, sexuality and identity.
The event also provided supplies to create bracelets and had a diagram demonstrating each pride flag. Students had the opportunity to design their bracelet based on their identity.
“Sometimes we feel like we have to divide those two identities,” Davila said. “Yes, you can be both.”
The organizations’ intentions with these engagements was to make students feel that they can create an amalgamation of who they are.
Spanish music played over the loud roar of excited students ready to play Loteria. They gathered around two tables and listened for the first few cards to be drawn.
“La palma, the palm tree” said the announcer as students anxiously stood up from their seats and waited for the next card. The winners for Loteria won ULV merch including a shirt and water bottle.
Students enjoyed all that Latinx Pride had to offer. They mostly enjoyed the opportunity to connect with their peers while being in a diverse and inclusive environment.
“My favorite part was spending time with my friends and doing the bracelet making and the buttons, it was all pretty fun to me, but just spending time with my friends is fun,” freshman business administration major Alyssa Navarro said.
April Cambero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.