On Thursday, June 16, Hostos Community College welcomed local elected officials and Hostos staff and alumni to discuss what Pride means to them as part of June’s Velada Hostosiana/Hostos Culture talk celebrating Pride Month.

President Daisy Cocco De Filippis warmly greeted the distinguished guests and set the tone for the afternoon’s two-part virtual panel discussion in her opening remarks. “The Hostos family is a friend, an ally of the LGBTQ community, and we’re so delighted to have this event and to have with us such wonderful, wonderful representatives of the college community and elected officials as well,” she shared.  

President Cocco De Filippis went on to reflect on the origins and significance of Pride Month, saying: “Pride Month began as Pride Day, a way of remembering and honoring Stonewall. It now encompasses a month and memorializes — in the words of the United States Census Bureau — ‘members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS...and recognizes the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.’”

Dr. Eric Radezky, Director of Governmental and External Affairs, moderated the first panel discussion, for which he welcomed elected officials Congressman Ritchie Torres and Assemblymember Deborah Glick. Congressman Torres is the first openly gay Afro-Latino member of Congress and was the first openly gay elected official from the Bronx in his time on the New York City Council. Assemblymember Glick is a longtime advocate of women’s rights and LGBTQ rights, and she was the first openly gay member of the State Legislature. During their panel, Torres and Glick reflected on what it was like for each of them entering elected office as an openly gay legislator, and what has changed over time. They also discussed their intersecting identities and political interests, and shared their thoughts on how to promote acceptance and combat discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

Jerry Rosa, Director of Student Activities, moderated the second panel of the afternoon, welcoming Father James Francis Sheehan, Hostos Campus Minister, and Hostos alumni Harry Copson, Class of 2012, and Eve Stewart, Class of 2015. Stewart, currently a graduate Student at City College of New York, and Copson, Human Resources Specialist in the NYC Mayor’s Office, discussed their personal experiences, gender identities and sexual orientations, and what it was like for them coming out to loved ones. Father Sheehan provided personal and religious perspectives on the LGBTQ community.