FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno City College held its third Annual Pride Flag Raising Ceremony to show support for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and the community.

President of Fresno City College, Dr. Robert Pimentel, expressed his gratitude for the ceremony and the various outlets of support the college provides for its students.

“Our student club, The Queer and Allies Club, offers a nurturing and encouraging platform for LGBTQ+ students… In addition, the FCC Rainbow Alliance Staff and Faculty Association is an essential part of the supportive network for our students. Our college has also pioneered its first LGBTQ+ academic cohort, a groundbreaking initiative designed to create a tight-knit community and provide specialized resources for the LGBTQ+ community on campus,” said Dr. Pimentel.

Dr. Pimentel took the time during his speech to acknowledge that while events like this are a celebration of progress, there is still more work to be done.

“I still have to call PD to make sure they’re here. You know, we shouldn’t have to do that. We should be free and open to celebrate everyone and for me to have PD here present all the time to do these events, it shouldn’t be that way. I’ll make sure that our Pride celebration this weekend also has a lot of security because you just never know,” Dr. Pimentel expressed.

Former FCC President and current SCCCD Chancellor Dr. Carole Goldsmith who is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community says being accepting and supportive of inclusivity is not uncommon in the world.

“Even countries that have fought each other and are steeped in religious history and tradition, they can be proud of their community and inclusive in love,” Dr. Goldsmith explained.

SCCCD Board President and fellow LGBTQ+ member Nasreen Johnson explained the importance of the Pride flag as a beacon of hope in times when the LGBTQ+ community has to climb an uphill battle.

“It’s not an easy world, I mean, I checked this morning 491 different pieces of legislation are targeting LGBTQ+ people. Civil rights, education, health care, the right to have a flag in the classroom, and what this flag means on this campus and across the district… it means that no matter what color under the rainbow or variety or spectrum we exist in, that we stand together,” Johnson expressed.

Dr. Pimentel also announced that on Saturday the campus will come alive as it hosts a Rainbow Pride Festival, standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.