As part of Unity Week, the Office of Residential Student Services and Counseling, Accessibility and Alcohol and Other Drug Services called for students to join RA Amani Saleem for fun, interactive and informational activities that focused on the LGBTQIA+ community.
The event's goal was for participants to become more informed about the LGBTQIA+ community and recognize that the community is consistently battling social justice issues to this day.
Pride Fest kicks off with a Kahoot game that tested participants' knowledge of terminology. The game covered terms such as queer, non-binary and other words people use to identify themselves.
Another Kahoot game took place right after, testing the participants' knowledge on LGBTQIA+ history. It asked questions such as, where was gay marriage first legalized, what year was the first transition surgery performed and what do pride festivals commemorate?
The winner of both Kahoot games was rewarded a candy prize to celebrate all their knowledge of the community.
After the two games, the following names were presented on screen and a moment of silence was given to all the people in the community that lost their lives in 2020.
Hate crimes are very prominent in the community and are realities that many people face every day.
A video of Laverne Cox, an actress commonly known for her role in Orange Is The New Black and activist for the LGBTQIA+ community, shares her story and experience of hate crimes on an Instagram live that was presented during the event.
She shares her encounter with a transphobic and homophobic individual who, in an unprovoked manner, attacked her friend on the streets of New York City.
It was a terrifying and triggering experience for her as she has experienced years of hate crimes for being a transgender woman.
Participants shared their thoughts on the video as the floor was opened up for a deeper discussion. Personal experiences were shared as a conversation sparked talking about everything from the man in Cox's video to how it feels to be a victim of street harassment and catcalling.
Saleem closes the event with a Big Concept to leave students with something to hold. Saleem stated, "Do not fault yourself for being you. Be respectful. Be open-minded. Be aware of your surroundings."
For students interested in joining in on events similar to Pride Fest, they can keep an eye out on the Counselling, Accessibility and Alcohol and Other Drug Services on Cougar Link or through the Kean Counseling Center Instagram @keancounslingcenter.
To look for more events hosted by Kean's Residential Student Services, one can look through their Cougar Link.