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Pride Week 2018

AVP Equity and Inclusion Reflections

Nov 01, 2018

Pride Week –

October 29 to November 2 is MAC Pride Week (https://www.msumcmaster.ca/posts/916), hosted by the MSU Pride Community Centre. The Centre and all of its programs are essential spaces and initiatives intended to celebrate, support, validate and connect the diversity of LGBTQ2SI+ students on campus. This week you will also see the Pride Flag flying above University Hall. The flag and the recently installed Rainbow and Transgender Pride crosswalks are crucial symbols that reinforce the importance of making visible and validating the lives of LGBTQ2SI+ community members. As Audre Lorde, a U.S. American writer, civil rights activist, and poet, reminds us: “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

Sadly, last month, it was reported that the Rainbow crosswalk at the entrance of our campus was defaced with white paint. That incident was disheartening and impactful to many members of our McMaster community, and it created an understandable sense of invalidation and concern for safety among some LGBTQ2SI+ members. While the police have initiated an investigation of the incident, it has not yet reached a conclusion.

Given the current social climate, it was encouraging to see an immediate response from the University administration to restore the Rainbow. In addition to that swift response, now more than ever, it is important to make every effort to support our community members who experience social marginalization, to join one another, and to continue our ongoing systemic and cultural work to truly embody our community’s value for equity, inclusion, human rights and dignity for all.

To inspire us towards unity, we turn to Desmond Tutu, a South African theologian, human rights activist, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who said: “We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome...all belong to this family, this human family...”.

Arig al Shaibah, Ph.D.
Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion