Diversity & Equity Newsletter

June 2021

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LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Why is Pride Month in June?

Since 1990, June has been nationally recognized as LGBTQIA+ Pride month. This year's theme is "The Fight Continues," focusing on supporting one another as we rebuild from the major losses COVID-19 inflicted while celebrating our forward momentum for equal rights and safety for all LGBT+ people.

June is designated as Pride Month due to the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, commonly called the Stonewall Uprising or Stonewall Revolution as well, taking place at the end of the month. In the early hours of June 28, 1968, police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, a well-known gay establishment in NYC, for the last time. Until 1965, serving alcoholic beverages to known homosexuals was illegal, and even after NYC removed that law, gay behavior (even holding hands or dancing with someone of the same sex) was still illegal. Sick of the constant harassment and lack of equality, patrons of the Stonewall Inn decided they had had enough and they were not going to leave. Led by Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and other transwomen of color, they fought back until the cops had to retreat from the burning building. What followed were days of marches, protests, fights, displays of frustration, and flyers handed out.

While the Stonewall Uprisings didn't start the Gay Rights Movement, it certainly gave future protesters and activists the strength and confidence to continue the fight. On the first anniversary of the original uprising, thousands of people marched in a parade from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park called “Christopher Street Liberation Day." The official chant was “Say it loud, gay is proud.” This parade went on to inspire others to follow.

Finally, on June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court struck down all remaining state bans on same-sex marriage. This effectively made same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states and required that all states acknowledge out-of-state marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

What does LGBTQIA+ mean?

LGBTQIA+ stands for:
  • Lesbian: women attracted to women
  • Gay: men attracted to men, often used as an umbrella term
  • Bisexual: people attracted to two or more genders
  • Transgender: people who's gender identity doesn't align with what they were assigned at birth, often used as an umbrella term
  • Queer/Questioning: people who are not cisgender or straight, or people who are still figuring out their sexuality/gender
  • Asexual/Aromantic: people who differently or do not experience sexual or romantic attraction
  • Pan: people attracted to others regardless of gender
  • and more!

Variations of this acronym are used to be the most inclusive of various sexualities, genders, and romantic attractions.

What is an umbrella term?

An umbrella term is a word used to encompass a range of ideas from a common category.

For example, Transgender is an umbrella term that encompasses multiple gender identities:

  • Transgender Woman
  • Transgender Man
  • Nonbinary Person
  • Genderqueer Person
  • Agender Person
  • Genderfluid Person
  • Demigender Person
  • and more!

Umbrella terms are often used in the LGBT+ community, as there are hundreds of identities that can intersect in various ways.

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What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th, is celebrated to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. Following General Lee's surrender in April 1862 Union troops finally had a strong enough influence to enforce Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, nearly two and a half years after it had been signed. On June 19, 1862, troops were finally able to enforce the proclamation and tell people that they were free!

Juneteenth, also occasionally called Freedom Day or Liberation Day, is often celebrated with the classics of American celebration: parades, barbeques, music, family reunions, park parties, and fireworks.

Currently, Juneteenth is not recognized as a federal holiday but is observed by 47 states and DC.

Diversity & Equity Committee Member Spotlight

Every month this year we will be spotlighting a different member of the Diversity & Equity Committee. In this space, they will be able to talk about what they do at ASUA, why they are on the committee, and what they like to do in their free time!

This month's spotlight is Ryan.

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Hi everyone, my name is Ryan Schwendiman and I use she/her pronouns. I graduated from Millersville University in 2018 with a Sociology degree. I started at A Step Up Academy in September 2019 as an Instructional Assistant and moved to Lead Instructional Assistant for the 2020-21 school year.

During the 2019-20 school year, I assisted with taking a few of our older students to German Town Academy for inclusion opportunities (pre-Pandemic). This was a big push for why I wanted to join the Diversity Team. With the ever-changing world, I wanted to be able to have some of these uncomfortable conversations with our staff and learn how to address them with the students. Many times at GA, the teachers would be talking about big events happening in the news, pushing for me to have some of these conversations with our students, but not always knowing the best way to address them. The Diversity Committee has offered many opportunities for the staff to discuss topics that can be uncomfortable, but are important to have amongst ourselves and with our students and families.

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