PRIDE Month may be over but there is much work to be done and our collective efforts must continue. 2021 was a year of several historic firsts in and around the Fresno area and the greater Central Valley.
For the first time since their founding, California’s first community college, Fresno City College and California State University, Fresno, raised the PRIDE flag to commemorate PRIDE Month along with unanimously passing accompanying resolutions declaring support, and celebrating the diversity of the LGBTQ2+ community, while honoring the work of those who came before us and marking this important and memorable moment in time.
Continuing the many firsts for the LGBTQ2+ in the Central Valley, the City of Fresno raised the PRIDE flag at Fresno City Hall, although not without a heated and spirited political debate between a majority of the Fresno City Council and mayor. The event was attended by hundreds of community leaders, elected officials, and members of the faith community symbolizing a broad spectrum of support, while sending a clear message of regardless of who you are, who you love, or how you identify, the City of Fresno officially recognizes and values the LGBTQ2+ community. Raising the PRIDE flag at the seat of local government marked a a new and important chapter in our community, and although this was a significant first, hopefully it will not be the last.
Such acts are not just symbolic, they are indicative of the progress we have made, recognizes the work and efforts our community, past and present, but most importantly highlights and underscores why visibility and representation matters. Which is why it was largely important for Trustee Martinez to join his elected partners in power throughout the City and County of Fresno and introduce a student centric PRIDE resolution on the Fresno County Board of Education, ensuring all Fresno County Schools be declared a safe place for LGBTQ2+ students, faculty, and staff.
With a 5-0 vote, the Fresno County Board of Education passed Trustee Martinez’s student centric PRIDE resolution, which he lead and was supported along with Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, Jim Yovino, to promote LGBTQ2+ awareness in our schools, create alliances, celebrate diversity, and establish safe environments in our schools and communities, while encouraging the adoption of LGBTQ2+ studies in our schools. This marked a notable first for the Fresno County Board of Education passed such a resolution on behalf of students during PRIDE Month. This marked a significant and notable moment for Trustee Martinez, as this was unforgettable and meaningful moment for not only himself but also those he represents.