Forty-eight years ago, riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York began what many consider the modern LGBTQIA+ rights movement in the United States. To memorialize, June has been regarded as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month and is marked with festivals, parades and other events.
This Pride Month, I am proud to recognize the LGBTQIA+ faculty, staff, students and alumni who add so much to our VCU community. As we remember last year’s tragic shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and many other acts of violence that aim to shame and silence, we find comfort in the support and strength of our LGBTQIA+ community. I thank you for being you. Our premier urban, public research university is shaped by our experiences in and out of the classroom. When we learn from one another, we become better people.
This spring, VCU was honored with a Catalyst Award from Side by Side, a Richmond-based organization that works to empower LGBTQIA+ youth. The organization praised many of our efforts, including academic offerings, athletics and student affairs, as a way to support our LGBTQIA+ students.
I am proud to celebrate this honor because it signifies our university’s strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, including supporting members of the LGBTQIA+ community at VCU and throughout Richmond.
That’s why I am also proud that the VCU Board of Visitors has recently approved the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan, which provides an intentional framework for how we will sustain a living, learning and working environment where everyone feels welcomed, respected, supported and valued.
In Pride Month and always, thank you for helping VCU to be a place where everyone is free to be themselves and flourish.