Photo courtesy of Julie Mavity Maddalena
During this year’s Pride Week, Lakeland University held a walk and memorial service in honor of the upcoming Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, 2021. “The pride walk and celebration service were the final events of a full pride week, where we celebrated, educated, affirmed, and embraced the LGBTQ+ community at Lakeland and beyond.” said Reverend Dr. Julie Mavity Maddalena. The walk started in the Center for Community, Equity, and Belonging on Lakeland’s campus, as it is a space designed to be welcoming and affirming to all community members. Le’Shay Guy began the walk by sharing the meaning of the event and reminding us of the adversity the LGBTQ+ community has overcome throughout history, and the issues this community continues to fight to this day.
Signs and flags were held in support as Lakeland community members walked together to the Ley Chapel. “We closed the week with a service at the Ley Chapel because part of Lakeland’s identity as a United Church of Christ institution means we recognize that LGBTQ+ community members are beloved children of God,” said Reverend Julie. This means that all are accepted, welcomed, and affirmed in our community just how they are. This shows another aspect as to why Lakeland is an amazing place to be and how no matter what, you are accepted here at Lakeland.
Lakeland wants to be a university overflowing with acceptance and let the LGBTQ+ community know that they are welcomed here and belong here. “We know that we can always do better and learn more as an institution and as individuals in the community, so pride week is also a way of inviting accountability and conversation about how we can do better,” said Reverend Julie. This year’s event had 18 participants which included 8 students and 10 faculty, including Lakeland President, Dr. Borgen. Events like the Transgender Day of Remembrance show exactly how accepting and open the Muskie community truly is.