Dressed in matching white T-shirts with “We are IUPUI” emblazoned in a rainbow of color, 60 students, staff and faculty members represented the university at Saturday’s Cadillac Barbie Pride Parade.
An estimated 100,000 flooded downtown Indianapolis to cheer on the dozens of floats and the thousands of parade participants. They marched for love, unity, respect and equality.
“I know about the struggle, but we are moving forward,” said Dennis Jones, a campus facilities worker based in the Campus Center. “There are people who are trying to step us back, but we’re going to continue to fight. Everything is going to be good.”
As Jones marched along, he said he appreciates IUPUI’s efforts for diversity and inclusion. Being a part of the Pride celebration is an example of that.
[Video: Jazzy is dancing as IUPUI students, staff and faculty prepare to march in the Indy Pride parade.]
[Words appear: IUPUI Presents]
[Dennis Jones speaks: We’re moving forward, but there are people that are trying to move us backwards, but we’re not going to let that happen. This is growing, and growing, and growing, and getting better every year. And I’m proud of my city here, and I’m proud of the things that we’re doing.
Like I said, there are people that are trying to step us back, but we’re going to continue to fight and everything’s going to be good. Maybe we can get more people to come to our university, like I said, it’s becoming a university where people want to go.
[Words appear: Dennis Jones, Campus Facilities]
[Jones speaks: And to be at the festival and to have a booth there, it’s going to be exciting. This is exciting, and I can’t wait to get into the heat of the parade, it’s going to be fun.
[Video: Marching in the parade and the crowd cheering.]
[Esther Calderon speaks: It was amazing, it was thrilling, it was exuberant, it was so much, it was just all around my favorite thing so far.]
[Words appear: Esther Calderon, Senior, Tourism, Conventions and Event Management]
[Calderon speaks: I always push to be involved and I’ve become very heavily involved with the LGBT+ community on campus. And it is probably what I’m going to take out of IUPUI the most, that is the closest to my heart.]
[Video: Student dances to the beat.]
[Taylor Dooley speaks: We had a really good crowd this year, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and it’s just a really great experience.]
[Words appear: Taylor Dooley, Interim co-director IUPUI LGBTQ+ Center]
[Dooley speaks: You can just see people’s faces light up when they recognize that it’s IUPUI and that we accept the LGBTQ+ community. I had so many people say, thank you, thank you for being here.]
[Words appear: IUPUI Fulfilling the Promise, iupui.edu]
[End of transcript]
In previous years, Jones had marched as a leader at Footlite Musicals, a nonprofit community theater organization based in Indianapolis. But this past weekend, he wanted to help represent his employer, which has had a strong showing at recent Pride events.
Waving rainbow streamers, Jones and his fellow Jaguars started at the east end of Massachusetts Avenue. Alongside Jazzy, who was rocking out to nearby club music in a cherry-red pickup truck decorated with rainbow ribbons, the group was greeted by thousands of cheering onlookers. The parade ran southwest down Massachusetts before ending at Delaware and New York streets.
“This is getting better every year,” Jones said. “I’m proud of my city, and I’m proud of the things we are doing.”
Esther Calderon was one of the dozens of students who marched. The senior studying tourism, conventions and event management relished the opportunity to represent the university during her final year at IUPUI.
“It was all-around my favorite thing so far,” Calderon said soon after the parade. “It was amazing. It was thrilling. It was exuberant. It was so much.”
Hundreds more Jags attended the Indy Pride Festival, which started right after the parade in Military Park. Booths representing IUPUI through the IU School of Dentistry, IUPUI Office of Admissions and the LGBTQ+ Center were busy throughout the day. Taylor Dooley, who works for both the LGBTQ+ Center and the admissions office, enjoyed hearing from alumni and potential students about how happy they were to see IUPUI represented so well at Pride.
“You can just see people’s faces light up when they recognize that it’s IUPUI and that we accept the LGBTQ+ community,” Dooley said. “We had so many people say ‘Thank you. Thank you for being here.’ It was just a wonderful experience.”