Love wins, just in time for CU Pride Festival

Photo by Scott Wells/Prospectus News Members of the student organization Parkland Pride gather outside the Student Union on Sept. 9, 2015. The group holds regular meetings every Friday at 1 p.m. in U114.

Photo by Scott Wells | The Prospectus
Members of the student organization Parkland Pride gather outside the Student Union on Sept. 9, 2015. The group holds regular meetings every Friday at 1 p.m. in U114.

Sarah Powers

Staff Writer

After the recent Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states this past June, floods of the color spectrum rushed to all edges of the country, even reaching through cyberspace, as the Love Wins Human Rights Campaign teamed with Facebook for easy applicable rainbow filters on profile pictures.

Moving into September, expect to see a continuing display of rainbow décor around the City of Champaign, especially at the sixth annual CU Pride Festival, put on by the Uniting Pride (UP) Center, Sept. 19 and 20.

A variety of activities and events are planned this year including children’s entertainment, education workshops hosted at Hyatt Place and Big Grove Tavern, a parade through the streets of downtown, and a Sunday morning drag brunch at V. Picasso.

A growing anticipation for this year’s CU Pride Festival is felt in many corners of the community, including Parkland Pride, a Parkland College LGBTQ student organization.

“We hope to take a group there just to see all of the businesses, groups, and organizations that are in town and not only LGBT friendly, but supportive, and celebrating pride and LGBT issues,” Tanino Minecci said, staff advisor for Parkland Pride.

“It’s more of just introducing them to what’s available in this community, and giving them the confidence to know that there is lots of support. Hopefully that helps them deal with the issues that they face every day,” Minecci said.

As membership grows, Parkland Pride hopes to extend their reach further into the community with service projects and events. For now, meetings are an informal gathering among friends and peers to discuss personal experiences with LGBT issues.

“We try to let the students drive what we do,” James Albrecht said, the second staff advisor for Parkland Pride.

In 2014, Parkland Pride worked side by side with Brother to Brother, a group for African American men to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS infection and protection. Their collaboration did not continue into this semester, but hopes are high to become more involved in community outreach.

After establishment in the early 1990’s, the group was started as a safe space that LGBT students could meet, discuss issues, and have activities in a supportive environment.

In recent years, with more public awareness of gender identity and expression issues, the group has extended the boundaries of membership after receiving a growing interest from students who identify as straight allies, transforming the ideals of the club into a group that “encourages collaboration, fellowship, and awareness regarding the spectrum of sexual and gender identities, and embraces membership from students of all affinities,” according to the Parkland Pride mission statement.

Parkland Pride meets every Friday from 1-2 p.m. in U-114 (Student Life). In addition to organization meetings, members also gather every other week for Pride Cafe, an informal social hour for LGBTQ and ally students to learn about the group’s upcoming activities. Pride Café is also held in U-114 in Student Life.