About 25 faculty, staff, students, alumni and their families joined President Stephen L. Weber and Vice President of Student Affairs James R. Kitchen as they lead the SDSU contingency in the 2009 San Diego LGBT Pride Parade. LGBT is a widely used acronym that represents the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Touring through the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego, thousands cheered as the Aztec floats rolled through. Numerous proud SDSU students and alumni shouted words of encouragement from curbs along the parade route.
“It was fantastic to see so many people applauding our university and our president,” said Aaron Bruce, SDSU director of diversity. “Some alums even ran out into the street to take photos in front of the SDSU banner!”
Pride Festival participation
The parade, comprised of LGBT and straight allies, ended in Balboa park. During the two-day Pride Festival, which follows the parade, SDSU alumni, fraternities and sororities, students, faculty and staff all volunteered to spend time at the SDSU booth during the festival.
“Having a presence at the festival is an important part of community engagement," Bruce said. "The SDSU booth was an important way to connect families to our campus, talk about the new LGBT Studies minor, the Safe Zones program, gender-neutral housing opportunities and scholarships, as well as upcoming campus events like the fall theater production of 'Dear Harvey.'"
Creating a diverse community
Bruce noted that the one of the five goals of the SDSU's shared vision is to "create a community proud of its diversity, committed to social justice supporting diversity and social justice." This goal fits perfectly with this year’s parade theme, "Stonewall 2.0 - Activism for Equality."
The theme commemorates the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York. Recognized as the beginning of the modern gay-rights movement, the Stonewall Riots took place in Greenwich Village, when a group of LGBT individuals protested against police harassment after a gay bar was raided.
"This year’s San Diego Pride parade and festival brought attention to the historical struggle for gay civil rights and highlighted the social justice work being done today," Bruce said.