North Adams, MA- The MCLA Athletics Department and Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted the first "Pride Night" in school history on November 27th. Pride Night event is a celebration of diversity, equality, and inclusion. The event took place at halftime during the Women's Basketball game against Middlebury College.
Women's Basketball head coach Loren Stock said "It was an important night for athletics and the campus of MCLA to promote acceptance and inclusion. We wanted to let everyone know MCLA offers a safe environment for anyone and everyone to be themselves." Coach Stock continues about the event, "I was pleased to see the athletic department and faculty come together to support students – and staff on this night. Nobody is alone in this world, and at times everyone needs somebody and to see the MCLA community support one another is always a good thing!"
MCLA Athletic Director Laura Mooney shared similar sentiments, "as a member of the LGBTQ+ community I was extremely proud to see so many MCLA students, staff and faculty there to support PRIDE night and to celebrate its importance."
At the halftime celebration Dr. Christopher MacDonald-Dennis, Chief Diversity Officer for the College, spoke about some of his experiences and what Pride Night meant to him. Dr. MacDonald-Dennis was joined by student-athletes and members of the Identity and Gender Equality (IGE) Resource Center. The students read quotes from professional athletes, who are "out", on the subject of being a member of the LGBQIA+ community.
MCLA Athletic Director Mooney added, "The number of "out" professional athletes has increased over the past few years, but there are still many who don't feel they can be their true selves. We want to ensure that the MCLA athletic department provides a welcoming and inclusive environment for our student-athletes who identify as a member of this community. Hosting our PRIDE night was a necessary first step to send this message and we will look to hold more inclusive events in conjunction with the campus diversity office and other centers on campus."
The first 80 people to attend the event were provided with Pride t-shirts, and rainbow ribbons were also available to all attendees to show support and inclusion.