In honor of Pride Month, Oxnard College became Ventura County’s first higher-education institution to raise the LGBTQ+ Progress Pride flag over its campus. The flag-raising ceremony took place on June 1 and was in collaboration with the Diversity Collective, Ventura County’s LGBTQ Oxnard chapter. The flag will fly through June.
“If America stands for anything, it stands for the ideal of liberty and justice for all,” shared Luis Sanchez, president of Oxnard College. “Oxnard College welcomes students from all backgrounds and identities, and we proudly raise the Pride flag above our campus as a symbol of our commitment to equality for all human beings and a celebration of our LGBTQ+ community.”
Over 40 community guests attended the ceremony and heard from student speakers, LGBTQ+ activists and college leaders. The LGBTQ+ Progress Pride flag was raised following the presentations. Graphic designer Daniel Quasar created the flag’s artwork in 2018, adding black and brown chevrons to the Pride flag to represent LGBTQ+ communities of color. Pink, blue and white chevrons represent Transgender Pride.
“Flying the flag at this college sends a message to the community that Oxnard College welcomes you as you are,” said Teresa Bonham, an Oxnard College professor who teaches an LGBTQ+ studies course. “This flag is a symbol of pride, but more than that it’s a symbol of support. It’s like a beacon guiding our students to a safe harbor.”
Oxnard College serves LGBTQ+ students by:
- Implementing the Preferred Name Policy, which gives LGBTQ+ students the option to use a preferred first name that may be different from their legal name.
- Launching a pronoun guide to help the college be a more inclusive environment and affirm students’ identity.
- Providing Safe Zone training to employees so they can provide a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students and colleagues.
- Hosting a weekly Rainbow Cafe to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ students to share their stories and meet new people.
- Offering Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies (SJS R130) as part of the college’s social justice studies curriculum.