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Pride Week Puts the Focus on Self-healing

April 4, 2024
Members of Lambda Alliance posing inside of a booth
Lambda Alliance has organized a week's worth of events for UC Merced Pride Week, April 8-12.

The campus and community are invited to participate in this year’s Pride Week at UC Merced, taking place April 8-12. Lambda Alliance (LAMBDA) is spearheading efforts once again in collaboration with other campus units, offices and departments. A variety of events are planned all week long to celebrate LGBTQ+ identity and culture and highlight campus and community resources.

The theme this year is “self-healing” and LAMBDA Vice President Zofia Cuenco hopes that providing this opportunity for people to connect with others who have shared experiences will help them on their journeys toward “healing their inner child.”

“It all begins with you,” said Cuenco. “The relationship you have with yourself is the first and last relationship that you’ll ever have, and that’s why the logo is actually a person representing the ‘i’ in ‘pride.’”

Festivities kick off Monday with a tabling fair on Scholar’s Lane from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring campus and community organizations. Attendees will be able to add personal touches to a banner, which LAMBDA intends to display at the annual Pride March in San Francisco this June. The group is also working with the Office of Social Justice Initiatives to have the banner put up in the campus Pride Center, along with banners from previous Pride Weeks.

On Tuesday, a healing workshop in collaboration with the campus’s CARE Office will be held featuring an herbalist/trauma healer in Classroom and Office Building, room 276 from 6-8 p.m. The session will incorporate plant-based teachings and bring awareness to healthy and toxic behaviors that can arise in relationships. Participants will also engage in a candle adornment activity, and everyone will get to take their candles home with them.

A tie-dying and cookie-decorating session is slated for Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. in Student Services Building, room 170 and an origami class will take place Thursday from 2-4 p.m. in Glacier Point, rooms145 and 150. For those who have done neither before, fear not, as coaching will be available for newbies.

“I’ve always put an emphasis on art focused events and I’m really looking forward to this,” said LAMBDA President Ollie Sears. “Self-expression is so important to the queer community and I’m really proud of the fact that this is a student-run event,” said Sears, adding that they have been a part of the Pride Week committee since the return from virtual learning and basically “started it again from scratch.”

The celebration wraps up with the highly popular game night on Friday from 4:30-11 p.m. Multiple rooms in the Glacier Point residence hall have been reserved for the activities that include various card games, board games and D&D. Pizza and snacks will be provided.

“I am thrilled with how Pride Week has grown and evolved over the past few years,” said Sears. “It says a lot about the culture of our campus.”

Hunter Dobson, LAMBDA's director of administrative affairs, attributes the event’s success to the support the committee has received from the university.

“What makes it special is the campus involvement in terms of faculty and staff. I mean, the advisor of our organization is the Dean of Students,” said Dobson. “I look forward to seeing Pride Week grow for years to come, and I know that it will because of that support.”