A&M-San Antonio marches with pride
On a warm summer evening last weekend, music and laughter boomed through the streets near San Antonio College, and “Happy Pride” could be heard from every corner.
Flags, ribbons, banners and balloons of every color of the rainbow waved in the air.
Dozens of students, faculty and staff from Texas A&M University-San Antonio lined up with their banners at the intersection of Dewey Place and North Main Avenue in front of the Silver Dollar Saloon, ready to march with pride.
Saturday, June 30, marked the first year A&M San Antonio participated in the San Antonio Pride Parade. A total of 68 participants signed up to march, including members of the Coalition and LGBTQ Taskforce.
The annual San Antonio Pride Parade is hosted by Pride San Antonio, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, to celebrate and embrace diversity and unity among the LGBTQ community in San Antonio. The parade began at the Silver Dollar and ended at Crockett Park near SAC. Corporations like Wells Fargo, USAA and Austin Pride as well as the Alamo Colleges gathered in their floats and vehicles along the streets to celebrate Pride.
Christina Guerra, civic engagement coordinator for the Mays Center for Experiential Learning & Community Engagement and co-chair of the LGBTQ Taskforce at A&M-San Antonio, coordinated the university’s participation, along with members of the Coalition, to spread awareness around campus of the LGBTQ community.
“They’re a vital part of the Jaguar community and we want to make sure that our campus welcomes each and every one of our students and that they feel safe and a part of everything that we are moving forward,” Guerra said.
Students and staff who signed up to volunteer at the parade received a custom LGBTQ Taskforce T-shirt, which all of the volunteers wore at the event. Volunteers held A&M-San Antonio banners and were accompanied by five Jeep Wranglers, provided by the San Antonio Jeep Club and 4×4 She Devils, all decorated to the rims with rainbow flags, ribbons and leis.
Some people decided to participate last-minute, like political science Professor Sarah Kupcho. She said it was important to promote equality for the community because it showed that A&M-San Antonio supports everyone from all backgrounds and creates a homey and welcoming atmosphere on campus.
“If I can promote this and help people come, or at least be aware that it exists, I think it’ll help them understand their role in the the community. Which is my end goal, you know, that’s why I got into teaching,” Kupcho said, sporting multiple rainbow flags in her hair and purple glitter eyeshadow.
Education junior Miranda Castillo was also a late participant to the parade, but that didn’t stop her from showing off her pride in a gold glitter skirt and rainbow-colored Vans alongside fellow students and staff of A&M-San Antonio. As part of the LGBT community, Castillo said she felt it was important for students from A&M-San Antonio to be involved in events like these because it provided unity within the community and made her feel welcomed and accepted.
Guerra said she hopes the university will continue to have an active role in the community and participate in events like Pride San Antonio so future students are aware they are welcomed. Guerra wants to show future students they can spread love in more ways than one across the community.
“It’s going to be bigger and bigger every year,” Guerra said. “This is a campus priority, and we intend to push as hard as we can to make sure this grows.”