By Nina Mendes
News & Features Editor
Students, staff and faculty took to the streets of campus last Wednesday to celebrate Pride Week 2020. The FGCU Pride Committee hosted its annual LGBTQIA+ parade and block party with minor adjustments to abide by COVID-19 guidelines.
The parade was split into three different time slots with a 50 person capacity limit to maintain social distancing. Masks were required, along with a green checkmark from the Veoci app.
The committee felt that it was crucial to host Pride Week this year for students to feel valued and supported.
“We felt it was necessary to still celebrate even through a pandemic, because we want to maintain some sort of normalcy for our student body,” Ysatiz M. Piñero, Pride Committee Chair, said. “It is important for our students to know that we as faculty, staff and student peers are here to support them, especially those in marginalized communities.”
Student organizations, including the Multicultural & Leadership Development Center, Student Government, and Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA), handed out resources to participants on the Library Lawn.
Former GSA President and current Campus Outreach, Frances Elmore tabled during the event.
“Especially in times of uncertainty, being able to come together and celebrate as a community is so important,” Elmore said. “Seeing departments, student leaders and peers celebrate [Pride] on campus lets people know that they are safe, welcomed and loved.”
The parade and block party are only one part of the Pride Committee’s weeklong celebration. Other events included a movie screening, drag show and LGBTQIA+ panel.
Piñero feels that FGCU provides an inclusive community for all students, but there is always room for improvement.
“Hosting Pride Week and other heritage & cultural celebrations are important because it creates a sense of belongingness to those in that community,” Piñero said. “It is important to educate those that do not identify in the community to create and build allyship. It’s important for people to feel seen, loved and cared for.”