There are certain things to expect at every back-to-school event: food, music, booths and a chance to make new friends. But at Kiwanis Park in Provo, you’ll also find pride.
Students, staff and the Provo community were all welcome to enjoy a day full of LGBTQ friendly activities at the RaYnbow Collective’s first BYU Back-to-School Pride Night. The event started with a pride march where participants let their colors fly.
“We are all here to be supportive of each other and you are loved. You are so loved at BYU and in Provo even if it doesn’t feel like that sometimes,” BYU student Sarah Giordan said.
The night then turned to booths, food trucks and live performances sponsored by local businesses. Attendees browsed merchandise and connected with organizations that provide resources such as therapy, clubs and scholarships.
BYU student Maddison Tenney is the founder of RaYnbow Collective, an organization that provides resources and safe spaces for the BYU LGBTQ community on and off campus.
“The goal of the pride night is to connect LGBTQ+ students to community resources in order to strengthen the existing community and provide a network of allyship and love,” she said.
RaYnbow Collective works closely with other organizations including BYU Pride and the new BYU Office of Belonging to improve the experience of queer students and to educate allies.
“I’m so grateful that we have such a fantastic relationship with faculty, staff and administration at BYU. We have just been really fortunate to just connect with some really good people,” Tenney said.
Today’s event was not about planning or new initiatives. The event was about having fun, finding resources, and knowing that at BYU, you belong.