Equality, freedom, empowerment, love. These were some of the words students and staff chose to describe what Pride means to them during the 2018 Pride Lunch. The celebrations this past June at the Carlos Rosario School were a true showcase of those sentiments.

For the seventh year, the School hosted its Pride Lunch, co-organized by the student-led group Allies/Aliad@s. MC’d by LGBTQ+ activist and Culinary Arts student Aylen, the event celebrated the progress made to advance LGBTQ+ rights and equality, and encouraged attendees to continue the drive forward.

Student leaders Emma, Eliezer and Kelly shared their experiences and encouraged the audience to join the group. Emma, who is also an LGBTQ+ activist, talked about her experience as a trans woman and thanked the people who fought for their rights. She emphasized her responsibility to be a role model for those who are looking to her for strength.

Eliezer, co-founder of the Allies, talked about coming to the U.S. and finding a community of support. “I looked for doors to improve my life. One day I saw an announcement about the Pride Parade and I decided to attend. That was my first day living in the LGBTQ+ community,” he said.

Chief Academic Officer Ryan Monroe moved the audience to tears as he remembered his fight to have a family with his husband. In 1991 they won a court case and became the first openly gay adoptive family in San Joaquin County, California. “What I have learned over the years is that it is important to persist, to continue to move courageously forward through the ignorance and bigotry, knowing that we are on the right side of history,” he concluded.

Much of the crowd took the spirit from the lunch with them to the streets of DC during the Capital Pride Parade. A contingent of about 80 students, staff and friends of the School participated in the event and, as Ryan put it, showed “the world that Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School is a brave space for all immigrants no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Check out photos of the celebration in our Flickr page.