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Office of the President

Celebrating SUNY PRIDE Week

June 25, 2020

College community,

As we celebrate SUNY PRIDE Week this week, I find myself measuring the celebration of meaningful advancements for the LGBTQI+ community against the social, racial, economic and political climates within which we are presently navigating.

Within the past two weeks, the Supreme Court has upheld the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and ruled that federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender workers from discrimination. These rulings occurred while protests nationally are elevating the Black Lives Matter movement amid calls to end systemic racism in the United States.

Even as we continue our recovery from a worldwide pandemic that has recalibrated how many of us behave socially, much-needed discussions on the civil rights and civil liberties of millions of us from diverse and disparate groups now share our nation’s attention. The Supreme Court’s ruling on workers’ protections is a landmark outcome for the LGTBQI+ community, which has long waged its own battle for equal rights and protections within, and outside of, the workplace.

I've been sensitive to those who suffered discrimination more dramatically than I. Even as a so-called out member of the LGBTQI+ community, I still get the choice to "hide" my membership if I don't feel like risking my mental or physical health in a transient relationship with a temporary companion, or total stranger, at a shared dinner table, gas pump or traffic stop. Many others with minority status don't get that privilege. You're on my mind in this month of Pride. I'm readying to take action alongside you.

I commend SUNY for its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and specifically its dedication to advancing the fair treatment and system-wide acceptance of the LGBTQI+ community. This month indeed gives us a chance across the system to come together in solidarity and to celebrate the LGBTQI+ community. But let’s not put away our rainbow PRIDE flags at the end of June.

Let’s keep the discussions going. Let’s agree to listen. Let’s vow to protect each other’s dignity, and let’s advance the premise that we all deserve fair, equitable, ethical, moral, respectful and kind treatment, regardless of race, sex, age, disability, national origin, religion, or other characteristics.

Let us exhibit PRIDE in ourselves, in each other and in our communities.