STAAR begins Pride month celebration at Archie Williams with festive carnival and panel


Jasmin Desruisseau

Xoxa Bell and Alexis Ayala make snow cones next to the student center.

To kick off Pride month, Archie Williams’ anti-racism leadership class, STAAR, hosted an after school event Wednesday, May 31. Directly after school, Falcons went to the student center to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community through games, food, informational tables, and crafts. Following the carnival, TGIJP (Transgender, Gender-Variant, and Intersex Justice Project) conducted a panel discussion covering how to hold a safe space for transgender people.

The carnival consisted of a circle of tables, all offering different activities and services. From snow cones and donut eating contests to Queer trivia and information booths, attendees had opportunities to celebrate the month of June.

Declan Riley and Nick Grubb compete in a donut eating contest during the Pride carnival. (Jasmin Desruisseau)

Two organizations attended the event, the Spahr center and TGIJP. Both groups aim to bring awareness and support to the LGBTQ+ community, and through their tables, shared the history of their organizations and their goals as part of the community. TGIJP focuses specifically on creating resilience among the transgender, intersex, and gender variant communities.

“We work in collaboration with others to forge a culture of resistance and resilience to strengthen us for the fight against human rights abuses, imprisonment, police violence, racism, poverty, and societal pressures. We seek to create a world rooted in self-determination, freedom of expression, and gender justice,” TGIJP said on their website.

Junior Jane Adams helped run the donation booth and the donut contest table during the carnival.

“I think that the organizations that we worked with… brought a lot of awareness to [the LGTBTQ+ community] because a lot of the people that I talked to had no idea that trans women of color, formerly incarcerated trans women of color, are very disproportionately affected in terms of the criminal justice system,” Jane said.

Posters hung around the event space not only dove into the history of Pride month, but movements and terms as well. The largest poster read “Welcome to the Freak Show,” a reference to how the phrase used to be a derogatory term to describe the LGBTQ+ community. Now, the term is a symbol of appreciation for their community.

Archie Williams students decorate the ground with colorful chalk drawings. (Jasmin Desruisseau)

Lixian Dolan, a student at Archie Williams, looked forward to attending this event.

“I wanted to come because I am a part of the community in a few ways, and even if I wasn’t I’d still like to show support, especially in hard times like this,” Lixian said, “Right now, there’s a lot of anti-trans and gay laws in many parts of the world and there’s a lot of excuses being given for people to be more bigoted than they usually would be.”

The carnival ended by 5:00 p.m., and the panel followed. Members of TGIJP opened the floor to questions from STAAR members and local community members. The discussion during the panel heavily focused on the experience of being a Black Trans woman in the prison system of the United States. 

The carnival and panel focused on opening both a safe space and discussion for the LGBTQ+ community.

“[The event] makes me feel happy, you know, to see other people that I can relate to, even allies, I just feel safe and happy,” Lixian said.