Organizers: SUNY Pride was great success

On October 12 and 13, SUNY Oneonta hosted its 6th Annual SUNY Pride Conference. More than 200 attendees from 28 different institutions were present, along with local attendees from Oneonta Job Corps Academy and Walton High School. This year’s theme was Pride Without Borders: Sharing Our Stories Beyond the Rainbow, which was reflected in 17 different sessions that included topics such as intersectionality between race and sexuality, coming out experiences, supporting LGBTQIA+ immigrants, and more. This year, we introduced a Professional Track, to allow for educators, advisors, administrators, faculty, and staff to share resources between campuses.

Notable presentations by the SUNY Oneonta community include “Who Am I? The Politics of Erasure Within the Black Queer Narrative” by Emmanuel Woolard; “Analyzing Asexuality: What Does It Mean To Have Sex?” by Jillian Moczara; “Defining ‘Queer'” by Katherine Hebert; “Restorying the Binary: A Model for Gender Educators” by Dr. Kristen Blinne, “Mentorship as Bridgework: Queer Women of Color” by Dr. Melinda Brennan; “Beta Inclusivity” by Alexa Rojas and Angelica Duran; “Intersectional Normativity in the 21st Century” by Cassidy Herrera and Rosario Rodriguez; and “The Role of The Friendly Stranger: Helping the migrant LGBTQ Community at the US-Mexico Border” by Pathy Leiva and Dr. Alejandra Escudero.

Feedback on the event was overwhelmingly positive, with an overall 95% average rating of the conference meeting expectations. A few pieces to note include praise surrounding the variety in sessions presented, organization of the event itself, the opportunity to network with peers and professionals from different institutions, and a memorable keynote presentation by Doctor Jonathan Paul Higgins. Some notable off-campus resources invited to table at the conference include The Otsego Pride Alliance, The Gender Wellness Center at Susquehanna Family Practice, the Violence Intervention Program at Opportunities for Otsego, and Family Planning of South Central, New York.

Ron Zacchi, a representative of the NYS Governor’s Office presented on LGBTQIA+ Rights and Protections within the state, as well as sharing enthusiasm and support for the conference from the Governor.

The keynote for this year’s event, Dr. Jonathan Paul Higgins, provided a thought-provoking and engaging presentation about understanding truth to power, personal capacity within diversity and inclusion work, embracing your authentic self, and self-care. There was also tabling available to showcase on-campus student organizations and local off-campus resources.

Let’s take a moment for a special thanks to this year’s planning committee…

Emily Phelps, Chair, Student Life & Leadership/GSRC

Robb Thibault, Student Life & Leadership

Kathy Hewlett, Student Life & Leadership

Shinique Smith, GSRC

Emmanuel Woolard, GSRC

Rosana DeJesus, GSRC

Geneva Frazier, GSRC

Katie Hebert, GSRC

Jillian Mozcara, GSRC

Rowan Fitzgibbons, GSRC

Kayla Whispell & Gender & Sexuality Alliance E-board

Faith Tiemann, Equity & Inclusion

Melinda Brennan, Women’s & Gender Studies

Greg Hummel, Communications & Media

Pathy Leiva, College Assistance Migrant Program

Rob McCaffery, Residential Community Life

Elizabeth Brady, SUNY Central

Hunter Grey

Naiomi Santiago

Also, a huge thank you to our sponsors for this year’s event…

Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, SUNY Oneonta

Office for Student Life and Leadership, SUNY Oneonta

Gender and Sexuality Alliance, SUNY Oneonta

Office of Equity and Inclusion, SUNY Oneonta

Office of Continuing Education, SUNY Oneonta

Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, SUNY Oneonta

Sodexo Dining Services, SUNY Oneonta

The SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association with fiscal support from the Fund for Oneonta at SUNY Oneonta

Additional thanks to Cheyenne Pommelle, the Equity and Inclusion intern who photographed the conference, and to Quwabe (Q) Rose and the SUNY Oneonta students who contributed artwork for this year’s buttons.

Lastly, a very grateful thank you to Dr. Franklin Chambers for providing the Welcome and sharing remarks, to Pitch Slapped for performing during the Welcome, and to Andrew Kahl and the Identity Play Reading Group for their performance at closing.

Next year’s SUNY Pride conference will be on October 18 and 19. If you are interested in participating in the planning committee for next year’s event, please contact Emily Phelps at Emily.Phelps@oneonta.edu and stay tuned for more information, as we will begin planning early next semester.