It is time to recognize another part of history, June as National Pride Month
Indian-born Canadian Rupi Kaur quote, “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.” Many of us can relate to this quote and especially in the upcoming month of June. The decision of the Saint John’s County Board of Commissioners to decline to recognize June as Pride month is a massive disappointment to many of us in the community.
There are many reasons individuals visit or relocate to Saint Augustine. Some of these reasons are not just because of the beach. Ponte Vedra, Neptune, Jacksonville, and Atlantic Beach exist among many of the other beautiful coastal beaches that run North in one direction and South in the other along A1A. Most people would agree they experience a shift in their metabolism as they draw nearer to the coastal line.
We live such busy and hurried lives that we avoid connecting most of the time, and we forget how to connect when we have the time. Saint Augustine is about connecting people to its’ city’s rich history, dating back 800 years or so ago. The city holds series of special events that locals, visitors, and tourists look forward to attending.
Saint John’s County Board of Commissioners has taken a pledge to keep the city’s history alive, interactive, and engaging. In their own words, “to provide memorable experiences for visitors, foster international economic development, and enrich the quality of life in our community.” Proceeds from the festivals and events go to charitable organizations; one of these is Flagler College’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Program.
Michael Gonchar, deputy editor and journalist for the New York Times Learning Network in a 2018 article, invited students to participate in a contest linking a topic they learned in class to a current news event. Gonchar wrote about the influential role connecting to history has in bringing current events into the classroom. In much of the same way, Saint Augustine connects people to its’ history.
It is difficult for anyone to appreciate or understand why we recognize Black Lives Matter or Constitution Day and Citizenship Day without learning about the history that led up to these events. Gonchar supports the study of history. He writes that it promotes critical thinking and connects people to share about their culture with others. He refers to this as a shared cultural literacy.
June is National Pride month, an essential part of Gay history and culture. What does this have to do with St. John’s county history? Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Ally, and others (LGBTQIA+) from this community didn’t just come about recently. We have been around for centuries. Learning about National Pride month connects us to the narratives of others, the history and issues affecting people today, and most importantly, sends a strong positive message showing support to the children, youth, families, and friends of the LGBTQIA+ community who live in and visit Saint Augustine.
Family and community acceptance builds healthy children, and families feel supported; ambivalent inter-generational biases burden children and youth. Worse yet, the inter-generational biases keep feeding the pipeline of negative messages and only amplify history repeating itself. It is time to revisit another part of history, recognizing June as Pride month.
Check out Marcelo Chagas photography https://www.pexels.com/@marcelo-chagas-861665
Check out Rupi Kaur https://rupikaur.com/pages/about-me
To read more about Michael Gonchar check out https://nytedu.com/faculty/michael-gonchar/