Laurier Brantford’s Rainbow Alliance is a committee that is there to help any students with welcoming and open doors.

The alliance is committed to supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer rights. It started three years ago to include all students as the campus was growing. It continuously strives to reach people and ensure that students feel pride within themselves.

The committee consists of the Rainbow Alliance and My Respect coordinators, collaborating with executives and members to create diversity programming. Through social media, the committee is able to communicate to students using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and student blogs to openly discuss issues.  Using funding from PRISM, a diversity-programming fund, the alliance engages students by holding deconstruction nights, workshops and events such as, the Love Formal on February 8.

Keyena Smith, a student diversity intern overseeing the Rainbow Alliance and My Respect group, is very enthusiastic about valuing others.

“People should care because it’s a basic human right … I think that it’s our job and our goal as student leaders to make sure that through our everyday interactions, we are keeping up with the movements we’re involved in,” said Smith.

Smith’s passion was strengthened through her personal experiences and has pushed her to participate.

“This is my dream job, if I could do this for the rest of my life, I would do it … I guess what changed from me being passionate about it, to me wanting to do something about it, all goes back to my best friend Amanda  I’ve watched her struggle with being a lesbian for over 20 years. After having her truly come out and being honest about who she was last year was I able to see… the effect one safe place can have,” said Smith.

Nicola Capindale, a volunteer, got involved not only because it looked good on her co-curricular record, but because she supports the cause.

“I don’t think that its right that people can discriminate other people about anything … everybody is different and you should embrace those differences. It makes people unique,” said Capindale.

The education executive of the alliance, Miranda Small, has first-hand experience from the help that is provided by the alliance.

“It’s ok to love someone of the same gender and it’s ok to feel like you don’t belong in your own skin. I got involved because I’m gay and because I feel like everyone should feel comfortable with themselves. It has helped me to find my place within the community and I think we have addressed some homophobia here at Laurier Brantford and hopefully stopped it,” said Small.

Small has a message for any students who need somebody to listen to them, “You are not alone; we are here to help. It’s ok to be who you are, it’s ok to be a little bit different.”

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