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Pride Parade on MTU’s Campus

Mary Christine Stevens/Daily Mining Gazette Participants in the Pride Parade pause at the Husky Statue for a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting.

Local community members gathered under Michigan Tech’s Alumni Way arch on June 12 for a Pride Parade.

They celebrated Pride Month, and honored the lives lost during the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, the anniversary of which coincided with the Pride Parade.

The shooting took place on June 12, 2016. A 29-year-old man opened fire in Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. 49 people were killed and 53 were wounded. The shooter, Omar Mateen, was fatally shot by police, ending a three-hour standoff.

The parade was led by Danielle Meirow, who handed out posters and pride flags, and Makenzie Joseph, members of the committee that organized the parade. Dean of Students Kelly Rafaelli and Vice President for Student Affairs Laura Bulleit followed close behind.

The procession included various community members, as well as Michigan Tech staff and students, with about fifty participants total.

Mary Christine Stevens/Daily Mining Gazette. A Pride Parade traversed MTU’s campus Wednesday June 12, with students, faculty and staff as well as residents of the Copper Country. The event also memorialized the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting of 2016.

Several people on Michigan Tech’s campus stopped to watch the parade, cheering them on as they passed by.

From the Alumni Way arch, the parade walked to the Husky Statue in the center of campus. There, Dean of Students Kelly Rafaelli gave a brief speech, followed by a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Pulse shooting.

“In their memory, and in the memory of countless others who have lost their lives for just being who they are, let us renew our commitment to acceptance and inclusion of all people,” Rafaelli said.

“Let our community know that everyone is welcome just as they are, and we are glad they are part of the Husky community. Pride is about celebrating who you are unapologetically, raising awareness about issues and challenges the community faces, and honoring and respecting the contributions members of the LGBTQIA community have made to not only the Michigan Tech community, but to society as a whole.”

Rafaelli ended her speech with a simple statement; “Thank you for coming today, and happy Pride.”

Mary Christine Stevens/Daily Mining Gazette Members of the Pride Parade begin their march from the Alumni Way Arch on MTU’s campus.

Participants then proceeded to the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, where a small reception was held.

When asked if she feels there is a positive relationship between the LGBTQIA+ community and the Keweenaw as a whole, event organizer Makenzie Joseph responded, “I have lived up here for three years now, and I’m pretty open and out. Nobody that I know has ever openly discriminated against me, so I’d say yes. I go into businesses with my partner, and we are treated with respect, nobody has turned us down. So I’d say yes, overall the community is supportive.”

Joseph also commented on the importance of events like the Pride Parade and last week’s PrideFest, saying, “It’s important to have events like this to show support, especially for young queer individuals, just so they know there are other people like them. Whether they’re younger people, older people, or even just allies at the parade, they know they’re not alone, and they’re valued and respected for who they are.”

An ‘ally’ is a person who does not identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, but supports equal civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQIA+ social movements.

Several other Pride events have taken place so far this month, including PrideFest.

Vendors and organizations gathered on Hancock Beach to hand out mental health resources, stickers, informational pamphlets, and more. Live music was provided by local bands, and the festival drew hundreds of community members.

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