Las Vegas, N.M. – Las Vegas, New Mexico will have its first Pride parade April 27 at 12 p.m., thanks to a group of New Mexico Highlands students who organized the parade and other Pride events.
PRISM, a new club at Highlands that was chartered fall semester 2018, is organizing the Pride events. PRISM stands for Promoting Respect for Identity and Sexuality Movement.
“PRISM is hoping to bring light to our student spectrum and highlight the needs of those traditionally marginalized or silenced by current issues,” said Maysie Bucklin, PRISM president. “The resources and faculty at Highlands are incredibly supportive and encouraging. We want to foster more dialogue about what the campus and Las Vegas community needs or would benefit from.”
Bucklin, who is a graduate student in anthropology, said New Mexico passed some new legislation in its 2019 session that eliminated LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace and schools, and also allows for more gender-neutral public spaces in the state. LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.
Other Pride events PRISM is organizing include:
Pride Pageant – Friday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at the university’s Wilson Complex at 1241 9th St. The emcees will be PJ Sedillo, an education professor from the university’s Rio Rancho Center, and Estevan Zamora, a Las Vegas native. Highlands students will perform in the pageant. Bucklin said the goal is to educate the audience about the world of drag and the etiquette that goes along with drag shows. Highlands University’s Campus Life will provide snacks and snow cones. All ages are invited to the pageant.
Pride Parade – Saturday, April 27, at 12 p.m. It will depart from the city’s Carnegie Library. Participants include various Highlands University student clubs, Highlands President Sam Minner, students from Luna Community College, and organizations from Las Vegas such as the Animal Welfare Coalition, Equality New Mexico, Planned Parenthood, and Free Mom Hugs, to name a few.
Pride Plaza Gathering – Saturday, April 27, after the parade until 4 p.m. It will include free live music, information booths and vendors, a community raffle, and mobile HIV/Hepatitis testing van. A food truck will be selling food. Bucklin said the goal is to provide an all-ages venue for families to come together to celebrate love and unity in Las Vegas.
After-Pride All-Ages Dance – Saturday, April 27, starting at 7 p.m. the Palm’s Ballroom on the Las Vegas Plaza opposite the Plaza Hotel. There will be a DJ, arcade and virtual reality games, a photobooth, craft activities, and information and resources for youth.
The pageant, parade and Las Vegas Plaza events are all wheelchair accessible.
“PRISM is a movement and we are displaying our momentum with these events, from the excitement of a pageant, the locomotive connection with the parade procession, the bustling of people in the Las Vegas Plaza viewing the different booths, and dancing involved in our all-ages dance at the Palm’s,” Bucklin said.
Eli Mohanna is PRISM’s Highlands University adviser and the interim director for Highlands’ ARMAS Center, or Achieving in Research, Math and Science.
“PRISM is the only organization in Las Vegas that addresses LGBTQ issues and concerns,” Mohanna said. “PRISM’s positive civic engagement with the Las Vegas City Council, Las Vegas Police Department, and local merchants is remarkable and has helped make these Pride events possible.”
Mohanna said organizing the Pride events brought out the best at Highlands with students, staff and administrators.
PRISM also organized a candlelight vigil on Sunday, April 21, at the small park in Las Vegas at 2nd Street and Grand Avenue. Bucklin said the vigil commemorated lives that have been lost or damaged in the fight for human rights.
For more information about the Pride events, visit the PRISM website at www.nmhuprism.club/ or inquire via email to firstname.lastname@example.org The Highlands PRISM Club is also on Facebook under PRISM Club and on Instagram @prismclub1.