By Ray Mosca
On Saturday, June 15th, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine celebrated the annual Portland Pride Festival, as students, alumni, and faculty took to the streets of downtown Portland to march in this year’s Pride Parade. Designed to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ movement and raise awareness for the community’s ongoing struggles, this year’s festival drew a record crowd of over 10,000 participants. Saint Joseph’s College was among a broad coalition of supporters that included nonprofit organizations, corporate entities, and other higher education institutions.
The College’s participation was spearheaded by the Saint Joseph’s College Gay-Straight Transgender Alliance+, a Student Government sponsored club dedicated to providing a safe, supportive environment for people who are gay, straight (ally), transgender, lesbian, bisexual, queer, questioning, or any other sexuality. The club provides educational and social programming for all members of the college community with the focus of promoting equality. Participation in the Portland Pride Festival has become an annual tradition of the club.
This year’s Pride Festival commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations that occurred in New York City in June, 1969, widely considered to have sparked the contemporary LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States. According to organizers, this anniversary, combined with increased political tensions surrounding LGBTQ+ issues likely contributed to the festival’s record turnout. Saint Joseph’s College is proud to recognize our students and faculty who participated in this year’s Pride events.
About Saint Joseph’s College
Founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy in Portland, Maine, Saint Joseph’s College is Maine’s Catholic liberal arts College with a commitment to sustainability and wellness. The 474-acre campus, located on the shore of Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine offers more than 40 undergraduate programs and a nationally renown Division III athletic program to a population of approximately 1,000 on-campus students. The College provides certificates and undergraduate and advanced degrees for thousands more working adults who reside throughout the United States and in more than 20 other countries through an online learning program. In 2015 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognized the College’s focus on community service through its mission and daily interactions with local, regional, and global communities with the Community Engagement Classification.