June 21, 2024
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Binghamton University raises Progress Pride flag to kick off Pride Month

On Thursday, June 1, members of the Binghamton University community gathered on campus to celebrate the raising of the Progress Pride flag and the start of Pride Month.

Attendees watch the installation of the Progress Pride flag. Attendees watch the installation of the Progress Pride flag.
Attendees watch the installation of the Progress Pride flag. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

On Thursday, June 1, members of the Binghamton University community gathered on campus to raise the Progress Pride flag and celebrate the start of Pride Month.

“Last year was the first time we displayed a pride flag on campus, but we did so with little fanfare,” said Nick Martin, Q Center assistant director. “This is the first time we’re having a ceremony, and we are looking forward to carrying this tradition forward.”

The Progress Pride flag combines the iconic 1978 rainbow flag, also known as the Harvey Milk Flag, with a chevron pattern of colors —pink, blue, white, brown and black — that symbolize marginalized communities, specifically trans and non-binary individuals and people of color.

Speakers acknowledge progress, challenges
Nicole Sirju-Johnson, assistant vice president for diversity, spoke on behalf of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She emphasized cultural competency as an ongoing lesson, requiring diligent effort and engagement, and how it is through the courage of conversation that innovation and change happen.

“While our efforts should not be confined to just these 30 days, I want to encourage all of us to take this time to educate ourselves about ways we can support our colleagues, our students, family and friends who are a part of the LGBTQ community,” Sirju-Johnson said. “Even after years of working for more inclusive and equitable spaces, I still have a lot of work to do. We must embody the change that we want to see.”

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Donald Hall referenced his 40-year career advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community. While he acknowledged progress, he also warned of the national political climate targeting LGBTQ rights, especially trans rights. “Be ready to march, be ready to use your voices. We must be prepared to fight for our rights and the rights of every member of our community.”

More than 20% of college students nationally identify as a member of the LGBTQ community, explained Paola Mignone, assistant vice president for residential experiences, and many individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ are not open about their sexual orientation or gender expression with their families or co-workers. “This flag stands at the center of campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors to see as a visual representation of our institutional values and commitment,” she said.

Q Center Student Manager Riya Bolander sang Cyndi Lauper’s 1986 hit “True Colors” to close out the midday ceremony.

Celebrate locally, agitate nationally
Hall charged attendees to be resolute and look forward. “Our University is a welcoming and inclusive place, and we have much to celebrate,” he said. “So, let’s celebrate locally, but be prepared to agitate nationally. Because we are not going back.”

Posted in: Campus News