The Rainbow Jaspers posted the final photo of the new artwork to their Instagram. @MC_LGTBQ/COURTESY
By Jocelyn Visnov, Editor-in-chief
Manhattan College’s LGBTQ+ student group, the Rainbow Jaspers, invited students to participate in an art night to help decorate the Pride Center prior to its grand opening event.
Attendees gathered in the Pride Center to enjoy music and light refreshments while creating rainbow butterflies out of construction paper. A tutorial for how to properly fold the construction paper and create the butterflies was provided by junior Analia Santana, who currently serves as President of the Rainbow Jaspers.
“Overall, like our goal was to become together, make coffee or hot chocolate and just do activities like this together, right?” Santana said. “Because the Pride Center is open for everyone, and the Rainbow Jaspers can use it whenever they need to.”
Santana organized the event so that anyone who wished to participate had the opportunity to come in and help add some color to the walls of the Pride Center.
“So this is really like our first event and I’m actually really proud of it because it’s about what we want the Pride Center to be,” Santana said. “It’s a place where people can come and learn about queer culture and just exist as a person and feel safe.”
Nayelis Minaya, a junior who serves as treasurer of the Rainbow Jaspers, explained the significance of the butterfly amongst the LGBTQ+ community.
“So we chose butterflies because we felt as though it was an easy option and on top of that, butterflies are usually known for growth and evolution,” she said. “And I feel a lot of LGBT members go through that point in their lives.”
Santana also explained how she feels the butterfly is the perfect analogy for finding yourself in the queer community.
“A caterpillar goes into a cocoon and emerges as something beautiful,” she said. “Almost every single LGBTQ+ person is like that. They were one thing, then they took however long it took to like, built themselves into what they’re actually meant to be. Whatever that is, if you’re trans or bi or gay or lesbian, whatever it is, like everyone has a butterfly story where they were one thing, and then created something new and beautiful.”
The faculty advisors for the Pride Center include Dr. Rocco Marinaccio and Tiffany French, who help staff the Pride Center and coordinate with students.
Previously, the Pride Center held a book drive so that students could have access to books and educational resources that are inclusive and include LGBTQ+ representation.
Santana noted that the Rainbow Jaspers will soon be searching for more artwork to decorate the walls of the Pride Center as well.
Radion, a junior and the vice president of the Rainbow Jaspers, also helped to organize the event and hopes to continue creating a welcoming and safe space in the Pride Center.
“My general role at the Pride Center is just to create an atmosphere of community amongst people both through events and just making sure that if someone does come in [to visit the Pride Center] that is part of the queer community, I can be here to talk to them.”
Anyone is welcome into the Pride Center, it is located in Kelly Commons 3.04. For information about any events hosted, follow their Instagram @mc_pride_center