Hundreds of allies gathered to celebrate LGBTQIA students and staff at the Annual Pride Breakfast, raising over $200,000 to support LGBTQIA programs and scholarships.
One of the programs included the Pride Empowerment Assistance Fund, which provides emergency assistance to students experiencing financial difficulty due to loss of family support.
“The Pride Breakfast recognizes the value of LGBTQ faculty, staff and students,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “Their perspectives and learned experiences benefit and enrich the educational and professional experiences for all of us.”
This year’s keynote speaker was Sarah McBride, the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign.
McBride made history in 2016 when she became the first openly transgender person to address a major political party convention.
McBride said one of the most significant and transformative things students can do to make a difference in the community is share their story.
“I think vulnerability is oftentimes the best path toward justice,” McBride said.
During an on-stage Q&A with Chris Hernandez, a member of the chancellor’s LGBTQ council, McBride spoke about the importance of being an ally. She said there are two things that are most important for student activists: using the gravity of their voices and never losing impatience.
“As young people, we are told that we’re too impatient, that we’ll begin to understand that incrementalism and slow progress is inevitable,” McBride said. “While there’s no question that change does take time, we should never lose our impatience. We should always feel that fierce urgency of now.”
Student and LGBTQIA Affairs Council President Trae Tucker said UMKC is “a home that accepts me for who I am, what I believe and what I hope to become.”
“The reason we are all here today is to pursue advocacy and provide chances to students everywhere to have access to opportunities that supply inclusion,” Tucker said.
Stuart Hinds, curator of The Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, said the event is powerful for both students and supporters because it’s “one of the few events that’s really multi-generational.”
“You had people on the stage talking about the way that it was and the way that things were 40 years ago. And now, it’s events like this that provide the opportunity to affect some of the changes that [McBride] was talking about,” said Hinds.
In addition to the featured speaker, the breakfast included video testimonies from scholarship recipients and a performance from students in the Conservatory of Music and Dance.