Pride flag raised over campuses honoring LGBTQ+ community
The first of June marks the beginning of Pride Month across the United States and around the world.
In San Diego County, the season of celebrating the LGBTQ+ community kicked off Thursday with the raising of one of its most significant symbols.
June gloom and some light wind provided a backdrop for the vibrant colors of the Progress Pride flag. It was raised over the main office of the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) in Mission Valley.
“Pride is about justice. Pride is about courage. Pride is about community, and Pride is about queer joy," said Sim Scano, a student at San Diego City College.
For the first time in the district's 50-year history, the Pride Flag was raised over the main office and all of its eight campuses, including City College, Mesa College, Miramar College, and the various locations of the College of Continuing Education.
The flags were raised at a time when there has been backlash against initiatives to support diversity and inclusion, including the burning of a Pride flag at a school in Los Angeles County.
Jaime Sykes Seiverd is an employee and member of the district’s Queer Alliance. She said, "We're definitely under attack right now, and events like this, that affirm our belonging and our humanity, are really important. But we can’t stop there. We have to push back against the violence both legislative and physical.”
For several years, the San Diego Unified School District has been raising a Pride flag over its headquarters at the Brucker Education Center in University Heights.
District officials continued the tradition Thursday, when the Pride flag was raised by younger advocates and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Axl Szymczak, 8, is a student at Spreckels Elementary School.
They spoke at a ceremony before the flag was raised.
“I hope that more people will start to understand what being transgender and non-binary is like, and that I’m just another normal kid who loves legos, snuggling, and reading," Szymczak said.
From elementary schools to community colleges this month, the Pride flags will fly in celebration and they will represent responsibility, too.
"We recognize the vital civic role that our institutions have in shaping a collective future where every member of the LGBTQ-plus community lives authentically and thrives," said Gregory Smith, Acting Chancellor for SDCCD.