Yesterday’s proclamation of the week of Sept. 23-27, 2019, as CNMI Ally Week had one resounding message: that love always wins in the Marianas.
Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios stressed this as he called on the islands to commemorate the important progress and remarkable advancements made by the LGBTQ+youth and their allies to create safe schools for all students.
“I commend this youth-led awareness efforts of Ally Week to ensure and promote that each member of every school is valued, respected, and inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression,” Palacios said. “The Commonwealth is stronger and much more vibrant because of the diversity of our people and alliances.”
The proclamation also recognized that despite the progress made in expanding the rights of the gay, community, both locally and nationally, there are still a lot to be done to support safe school efforts, to increase peer advocacy, and to raise awareness to strengthen these efforts.
Dr. Bobby Cruz, PSS director of Instruction Technology, spoke of the importance of the proclamation in terms of advancing human rights on the island, especially for members of the community who still live in fear of being rejected for who they truly are.
“We have youth in this room, who I am so proud of, because you are all at the forefront of this movement to advance human rights in our Marianas,” Cruz said.
“We are also here together today, because there’s a number of individuals who can’t be here, young individuals who are still so desperately hoping for a reprieve from fear, and are so desperately hoping for a time when the world that they live in, where this community that they live in, would give them the opportunity to be truly who they are without fear of rejection.
Kyle Thorne, president of the Marianas High School Pride Club, and inspirational speaker at the proclamation, shared how a friend helped him in his journey of discovering himself and in accepting who he is.
“To this day, her words echo,” Thorne said. “Now, I’m surrounded by people every day, who urge me to be my true self. I sincerely hope that everyone going through what I went through will have someone as caring, concerned and amazing as she is.”
Ally Week is a youth-led effort across the nation that encourages all students to stand against the bullying of, and be allies with, the LGBTQ+ members of the community.