Unleashing Creativity with Pride

This week we have a special guest post from Michael Salazar, Arts & Marketing Assistant at COMPAS -- thanks for sharing Michael!

What gives you pride? Maybe it's your career or your scholarly accomplishments. Maybe you finally beat your best score on Fortnite or worked up the courage to ask that special someone on a date. For some, pride has a very special connotation.

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June marks LGBT Pride Month and it's a time for queer people to celebrate how far we as a community have come and honor those who have paved a beautiful rainbow path towards a brighter future. We honor the brave men and women who took a stance at the Stonewall Riots to the shy teenager who's still afraid to come out.

I vividly remember growing up and not fully understanding what it meant to be gay. There was no conversation on the topic and I didn't have any resources to ask questions. There was, however, something very vital...

...and that's creativity.   

Whether it was through writing or theater, I used creativity to harness something truly powerful within myself. It was a tool that helped me feel comfortable in my own skin and eventually come out to the world loud and proud. 

Rachel Moritz, a literary Teaching Artist, observed this for herself during her time at Roseau Community School. 

 Teaching Artist Rachel Moritz

Teaching Artist Rachel Moritz

"As always, I felt the handful of writers, nerds, or potentially queer kids in the room responded REALLY well... I always feel like I can sense the kids who are outside the norm, and for whom a program like this is a life-saver."

Through her residency she helped these kids feel validated and heard; kids who may have felt like outsiders. Creativity has no prejudice or agenda... it's a gift that transcends sexuality, race, gender, and age. I feel so lucky to work at an organization that gives that gift everyday.

That is something I am proud of. 

-- Michael