SAN MARCOS, CA (June 1, 2022) — Palomar College became the first community college in San Diego and Imperial Counties to raise the Progress Pride flag during a ceremony to observe the beginning of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and Ally (LGBTQIA+) Pride Month on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

“As we raise this flag today, I think of all those people who have sacrificed so much in the past—they dreamed of a moment like this,” said Palomar College Superintendent/President Dr. Star Rivera-Lacey. “The fact that we are raising the flag today here and at our education centers ensures that, when people come onto campus, they see a symbol of hope, safety and acceptance.”

In November 2021, the Palomar Community College District Governing Board passed Resolution 21-21613 recognizing June as Pride Month and supporting an annual Progress Pride flag-raising ceremony each June to honor the history of LGBTQIA+ movement.

The Progress Pride flag was introduced in 2018 as a redesign of the original rainbow flag meant to emphasize inclusion and progression.

At Wednesday’s ceremony, dozens of Palomar students, faculty and staff gathered in the sunny courtyard between the Student Union and the flagpole to celebrate the raising of the flag for the first time.

“This is a historic moment not only for our school, but also for our community,” said Palomar’s Governing Board Secretary, Kartik Raju. “This flag represents belonging. Palomar is a safe and inclusive environment where you can come and learn while being the most authentic ‘you.’”

“What this flag-raising really symbolizes to me is all of the change that has happened on our campus since 2009, when we first started talking about establishing a Pride Center,” said Abbie Cory, Director of the Palomar College Pride Center and the Chair of the Palomar College Committee to Combat Hate. “That’s 13 years of hard work to make our campus safe for members of the LGBTQ community, and especially our students. I will be so proud to see the flag flying over our campus as it welcomes our LGBTQ community and lets them know that they have a home here.”

“This is an important step in Palomar’s continued commitment to growth, social justice and progress,” said Faculty Senate Vice President Jenny Ferrero. “The Progress Pride flag is an important and clear symbol of liberation, resistance, unity, inclusion and allyship to the LGBTQ+ community.

“Research and experience prove that students learn best in environments where they feel welcome and safe,” Ferrero added. “Today’s flag-raising strongly communicates that Palomar College cares and has a commitment to support LGBTQ+ students, employees and community members.”

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