The Alliance has seen a busy month, student Zack Baker writes. Be sure to visit with the group at its faculty meet and greet Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 11 a.m. in the Leadership Lounge. Food will be provided.
October is drawing to an end and so is LGBT History Month. I had the privilege of working with The Alliance, the LGBT Student Organization at UALR, on several different projects in honor of this month.
The Alliance has been actively working on campus and in the community: this month on campus we hosted a coming out day celebration on National Coming Out Day, had a variety of guest speakers in conjunction with Diversity Programs, and will host a LGBTQ & Ally Student and Faculty Meet & Greet this week.
One of the biggest events of the month was the first ever Little Rock Pride Parade, held Oct. 5. The event was called historic (how appropriate for LGBT History Month), with more than 500 people attending!
The Alliance. along with church groups, the ACLU, and other student orgs, made their presence felt. Even though it started off as a wet day, we still went out and made the best of things. Events such as the pride parade are celebrations of being yourself. It is also a celebration and reminder of the struggles LGBT people went through.
The first pride parade happened in 1970, a year after the Stonewall riots. In June 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar in New York City. At this time it was practically illegal to be gay. You could be arrested for holding hands or dancing with someone of the same sex. Stonewall is one of the first times that LGBT people fought back against the police, causing a riot. It is known as the spark for the modern LGBT rights movement. The year after to commemorate the event, a march was held. It was the first time gays and lesbians joined together for a march.
Now 44 years after Stonewall, Little Rock finally has its own pride parade.
The Alliance also worked with the Human Rights Campaign to urge U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor to support ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Currently 29 states, including Arkansas, have no law prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the private or government sectors.
About 30 students wrote letters to the senator.
The Alliance is a UALR organization for straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students to come together in an accepting, open environment designed to discuss topics related to both the gay and straight communities. The group is dedicated to promoting equality on campus, educating people, and providing social activities to build community.
The Alliance meets every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in DSC 201A and on Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. in DSC 201T.