The University of Miami is celebrating Campus Pride Month with a colorful collection of events throughout April, including Sunday’s spirited stroll down Ocean Drive in the annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade.
(Parade photos by Aaliyah Weathers)
More than 60 UM students, alumni, and employees represented the U with a Candyland-themed float, handing out bags of rainbow-colored jelly beans to spectators who gathered at the ninth annual parade celebrating the culture of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) community and allies. This was UM’s fourth consecutive year as a parade participant.
“Pride is about belonging, which is something we strive for every day here at the U,” says Van Bailey, director of the UM LGBTQ Student Center, which co-sponsored the parade entry along with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Not only is it about visibility, it’s about advocacy as well—standing up for those who can’t and celebrating those who have been fighting for LGBTQ equality for decades.”
The parade came on the heels of Pride Awareness Week (PAW), the signature program hosted each spring by SpectrUM, the University’s LGBTQ undergraduate student organization. PAW activities this year included a bandana tie-dye booth on the Foote Green, a “what are U proud of?” photo shoot at the U Statue, an excursion to the Pérez Art Museum Miami with a screening of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, and a Pride Shabbat at UM Hillel.
Also last week, the University lit up the Shalala Student Center in rainbow colors as part of Pride Lights the Night, a Miami-wide tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last year. More than 40 structures throughout the city displayed the rainbow in lights or on a flag to demonstrate support and solidarity for the LGBTQ community.
Upcoming Campus Pride Month events hosted by the LGBTQ Student Center include a “Queering the American Dream” lecture by Associate Professor Steven Butterman on Wednesday, April 12 and Rainbow Rager, a glow-themed extravaganza at the Lakeside Patio on Thursday, April 13.