Pride Marianas Youth members and volunteers got together to repaint and beautify the Da’Ok pavilion across Marianas High School last Saturday.
Also taking part in the project were T-Project founder Tyra Sablan, MHS Pride Club president Zen Ichiro Tomokane, and Reps. Sheila Therese J. Babauta (D-Saipan), Christina Marie E. Sablan (D-Saipan), Leila Haveia Fleming C. Staffler (D-Saipan), and Denita K. Yangetmai (D-Saipan). The project’s lead artists were artists Yolani Camacho and Meena Benavente, and Staffler.
Babauta said the event was made possible through the support of the CNMI Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers and her and Staffler’s office. GCEA helped supply paint and materials, while she and Staffler worked closely to source contractors to fix portions of the pavilion that had broken concrete and to do other patch-up work prior to repainting.
Babauta said she is excited for the rest of Pride Month this year and looks forward to a more inclusive and accepting CNMI in the future. “I’m excited for Pride Month. As a community, we are doing a fantastic job just coming together and supporting our brothers and sisters who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. At the end of the day, we all just want a CNMI that is accepting of all people, regardless of race, color, sex, and sexual identity. …We want [the CNMI] to be a place that is healthy, safe, and inclusive,” said Babauta.
Tomokane was more than happy to be a part of the project. “I decided to come and volunteer because this is one of my first public Pride events, and I thought it would be really fun,” said Tomokane. Next up in the CNMI’s celebration of Pride Month is MHS Pride Club’s Spirit Week from June 7 to 13.