HCC raises rainbow flag for Pride Month
Holyoke Community College celebrated Pride Month June 10 by raising the rainbow flag over the campus for the first time in its 75-year history.
Dressed in a black, Pride Month shirt, HCC President Christina Royal, the first openly queer community college president in Massachusetts, presided over the flag-raising ceremony, which was attended by faculty, staff and students at the main campus entrance by the Frost and Donahue buildings.
"I'm very excited that at Holyoke Community College we have a very active group of faculty, staff and students who are engaged and interested in continuing to further the progress that we made to ensure that HCC is an LGBTQ-plus friendly campus and institution," Royal said in her introductory remarks. "One of the things we're very excited about this year is to be able to raise the Pride flag on our campus in celebration, not only of Pride Month, but also in recognition of our LGBTQ-plus employees and students."
Royal noted that for the last two years, many Pride parades, festivals and concerts have been cancelled because of COVID-19, making small celebrations like HCC's flag-raising even more important.
"We very much feel that diversity is a huge asset to this institution and this region, and we believe very deeply in being able to ensure that we have a wide variety of representation, and that everyone can be seen and heard as they come to HCC," Royal said. "I feel very honored to do this as the first queer president of Holyoke Community College."
The Pride flag will fly over the HCC campus through the end of June.
"Thank you all for being part this community, for being supportive of those in the LGBTQ-plus community," Royal said after raising the flag. "Let's all remember that June is not the only time to celebrate, but it's nice that we have a month to be able to highlight and bring more visibility to those in the LBGTQ-plus community."
HCC will be celebrating Pride Month throughout June.
Other events include a reading and conversation with author Lesléa Newman on June 22 at 5:30 p.m. Newman will read her book Sparkle Boy and answer questions over Zoom.
On June 24 at 11 a.m., Daniel Giraldo-Wonders, assistant professor of Language and Latin American Literature at Bard College at Simon's Rock, will lead a "queer conversation" on Zoom about Pedro Lemebel's poem "Manifiesto: Hablo por mi diferencia" (Manifesto: I Speak From My Difference). Lemebel was an openly gay Chilean essayist, chronicler, and novelist who died in 2015.
More information about HCC's Pride events, including registration links to the June 22 and June 24 events, can be found at: hcc.edu/pride
PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO