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Pride Month 2020

The following message was sent to students, staff, and faculty on June 30, 2020: 

Students and colleagues, 

As we come to the end of June, let us take this moment to acknowledge Pride Month: a time to celebrate progress and inclusion, to affirm members of our LGBTQIA2S+ community, and to come together in honor of those who have given everything for this celebration and all that it connotes and means.

Pride began with an uprising, a riotous rejection of oppression and intolerance, not unlike those that have played out around our country over the last several weeks. This week marks the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which catalyzed a more widespread effort toward LGBTQ rights in our country; at the forefront of this effort were, and continue to be, trans women of color. Assistant Director for Student Life and LGBTQIA2S+ Programs Adrienne Conley shared a more detailed history in their June 15 email to campus, and I encourage you to read it if you haven’t already.

I have said before that the fights of many for equity and inclusion are ongoing. That achieving systemic change and social justice are part of our academic and public mission. That the liberal arts push us to understand intersections between various movements and historical moments. And that, while we are proud of the community we are building here in Morris each day, we acknowledge there is more that must be done to create a truly inclusive living and learning environment for all of our students, staff, and faculty.

Every member of our community is valid. Every member of our community is valued.

In recent months, students, staff, faculty, and organizations like Morris Queer Student Initiative for Equality (MoQSIE) have taken steps to ensure UMN Morris better supports members of our LGBTQIA2S+ community. Here are just a few:

  • Partnering with student, staff, and faculty stakeholders to listen to LGBTQIA2S+ campus concerns and create a critical analysis and evaluation plan
  • Collaborating with International Student Programs and the Office of Residential Life for their monthly Culture Hour to present on the history and culture of drag in the United States for Morris Pride Month in April
  • Recognizing our outstanding LGBTQIA2S+ graduates and Lavender Leadership awardees

Let me close by again acknowledging our LGBTQIA2S+ students, alumni, and colleagues. And thank you, all, for your efforts to authentically live and demonstrate our institutional values of equity, inclusion, and lifelong learning.