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Panthers find the rainbow in the middle of the pandemic storm

Panthers find the rainbow in the middle of the pandemic storm

With the cancellation of 2020 PRIDE, students turn to a virtual celebration of inclusion.

April 7, 2020 at 11:45am

Every year, students eagerly await to be part of the Miami Beach Pride Parade—the culmination of a nine-day celebration of the spirit and culture of the LGBTQ community that attracts an annual crowd of more than 145,000 people.

Not only does FIU LGBTQA Initiatives bring the largest contingency to the parade with 200-plus students, faculty and staff, but the university also forms the "largest rainbow on Ocean Drive" with participants creating the rainbow flag by wearing t-shirts with different colors. Moreover, FIU medical students (supervised by faculty) perform about 100 medical screenings at Pride each year.

2020 has special significance for FIU. This year, the university was set to celebrate its 10th year anniversary participating in the festivities. But like so many events nationwide, Miami Beach Pride was canceled amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though the formal event was canceled, FIU LGBTQA Initiatives made sure the celebration did not go unnoticed.

“It is important for FIU to celebrate Pride because it gives our students a chance to see how much FIU Panthers support and celebrate who they are,” said Erica Friedman, associate director for LGBTQA Initiatives.

In lieu of the Pride celebrations, FIU LGBTQA Initiatives teamed up with Professor Jay Sandhouse to create a Pride video featuring students sharing what Pride means to the FIU Community.

“[W]e need to show everyone that here at FIU, we choose pride and love over hate and discrimination. We choose pride and love over societal stigma and indifference,” said Ti Ti Nguyen, president of FIU’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance student club. 

While Pride 2020 didn’t exactly turn out as originally planned, President Mark B. Rosenberg offered the following message for students:

“I can assure you that next year, we’ll be together. We’ll be celebrating who we are, our identities, and we’ll be there on that float in South Beach!”

Watch FIU’s Pride Parade Video celebrating all LGBTQIA+ Panthers.

FIU is committed to empowerment and inclusion for the entire FIU community. An established office within Multicultural Program and Services, LGBTQA Initiatives works with faculty, staff, and students to create an environment of empowerment, affirmation, and inclusion for all LGBTQA+ Panthers through education, advocacy, and celebration. To learn more about LGBTQA Initiatives or to participate in one of their various virtual events and workshops, click here or visit @fiulgbtqa.