PRIDE brings students and faculty together
February 12, 2010 12:41 PM
Paper hearts were aflutter in Malcolm X Plaza Feb. 11 as SF State's PRIDE Committee joined with other groups on campus to host Honoring Our Right to Love, an event centered around Valentine's Day and the ongoing issue of same-sex marriage.
PRIDE members partnered with on-campus prevention education programs including Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance Abuse Education (CEASE), Education and Referral Organization for Sexuality (EROS), and the SAFE Place.
The event, which was originally set to take place onstage in the Plaza and feature queer justice speakers, was forced to relocate to a table in the quad to make way for the homecoming rally.
"Until last week we were under the impression we had the stage," PRIDE committee member and SF State student Piper Rystrom said.
In light of the last minute move, PRIDE's members restructured the event by inviting students and staff to stop by their purple tent, known as the Lavender Lounge, and decorate paper hearts with messages of love and equality. A video camera was also set up to provide a forum for those who wished to share their thoughts on Proposition 8.
According to PRIDE staff representative David Rourke, the recorded messages will be sent to the judges charged with deciding the fate of the controversial piece of legislation.
"I think a lot of people felt that their views weren't represented in that vote," Bita Shooshani, PRIDE committee chair and assistant director of prevention education programs at SF State, said of Proposition 8.
According to its website, PRIDE, founded in the fall of 2008, seeks to make SF State "a safe and welcoming community for people of all sexualities and gender identities."
"I think we wanted to make sure just because we were in San Francisco we didn't take supportive rights and an inclusive community for granted," Rourke said. "We try to get out a few times during the semester, definitely at the beginning so people know we exist."
"We're trying to really develop a network on campus," Shooshani said. "We might continue to film beyond this day."
SF State student and SAFE Place volunteer Alyssa Linares, who contributed to the day's festivities by creating a banner and cutting out paper hearts, said she believes faculty support is essential for furthering PRIDE's cause.
"Our voices can only go so far," said Linares. "The faculty makes us stronger."
"I think it's really great," Michael Ritter, a faculty counselor in psychological services, who stopped by the lounge to contribute a paper heart of his own, said. "I wanted to put a voice to what I believe."
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