CUNY Celebrates Pride Month With Virtual Events Honoring Its Historic Commitment To Inclusivity, Diversity And Social Justice

CUNY Pride Month Graphic

This article was posted first on

CUNY is marking Pride month with a range of virtual celebrations, including two major online events hosted by Hunter College’s Roosevelt House that seek to apply the hard-fought lessons of the AIDS epidemic to the current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as honoring the legacy of iconoclastic activist and author Larry Kramer, who died on May 27.

“In-person celebrations may not be an option for Pride Month this year but that does not diminish the enthusiasm or solidarity we feel for the LGBTQ community,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “The City University of New York is proud of our LGBTQ students, faculty and staff and of their contributions and advocacy in making the University a bastion of inclusivity and diversity.  It is with renewed hope in these challenging times that we reaffirm our support for the LGBTQ community, and the ongoing struggle for full acceptance and equality.”

Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, the LGBTQ Policy Center at Hunter College and the New York City Commission on Human Rights will present a live Zoom panel discussion, “Remembering the AIDS Crisis in the Time of COVID-19: How Lessons from One Epidemic can Guide the Response to Another,” on how the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and ’90s can inform and improve the nation’s policy response to the current coronavirus pandemic. The panel is scheduled for June 10 at 7 p.m.

A week later, on June 17 at 4 p.m., the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute and the LGBTQ Policy Center will host “Remembering Larry Kramer” a live Zoom event honoring the legacy of the legendary public health and LGBTQ activist, author, playwright and full-time provocateur who died last month.

Both events will be moderated by Charles Kaiser, acting director of the LGBTQ Policy Center and the author of “The Gay Metropolis,” “The Cost of Courage” and “1968 in America.” At the center of both events is the legacy of Kramer, who was a co-founder of both the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and the more militant-minded ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power).

“What we are hoping to do with these events is to mine the lessons of the AIDS epidemic and apply them to today,” said Kaiser. “Back then, gay activists worked with pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs far faster than before in order treat patients — the risk was too great to wait for a traditional trial. I think we can all agree that Larry Kramer had more of an impact on how drug companies operate than any other activist of his generation.”

“Remembering the AIDS Crisis in the Time of COVID-19” will feature Wafaa El-Sadr, founder and director of ICAP at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; David France, author and director of How to Survive a Plague and a longtime AIDS reporter; Ruth Finkelstein, director of the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College; Sarit A. Golub, professor of psychology and director of the Hunter College’s Alliance for Research & Translation; Lynnette Ford, senior vice president, programs and prevention services, at the GMHC; and Manoj Pardasani, acting associate provost for graduate and professional education at Hunter College. The event will be moderated by Kaiser. RSVP for the event here.

“Remembering Larry Kramer” will feature a conversation between Kaiser and Bill Goldstein, who is working on the authorized biography of Larry Kramer to be published by Crown. Goldstein, the programming curator emeritus at Roosevelt House, where he worked from 2010-2019, is the author of “The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster,” and “The Year that Changed Literature.” He received his Ph.D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center and is currently a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. He reviews books and interviews authors for NBC’s “Weekend Today” in New York and was founding editor of the books site of the New York Times on the Web. RSVP for this event here.

The CUNY Pride events kicked off on June 6 when the CUNY Queens Consortium, comprised of the five CUNY institutions in the borough of Queens – Queens College, York College, LaGuardia Community College, Queensborough Community College and the CUNY School of Law – organized and participated in a Virtual Pride Celebration. The event included a special message from Chancellor Matos Rodríguez, live music, student dancers, drag performances and appearances from community leaders including New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm, who chairs the Council’s LGBT Caucus and co-founded the Queens LGBTQI+ Pride parade, a 28-year-old NYC fixture that also went virtual this year.

Other Upcoming Events Include:

“Connection and Care: A Healing Space for LGBTQ Students during COVID-19” on June 22, from 4:00-5:30 p.m., a live Zoom discussion hosted by the CUNY Graduate Center. This workshop, presented by Joie DeRitis, LMSW, director of the Division of Gender and Sexuality at the Kull Initiative for Psychotherapy, provides a space for LGBTQ students to connect with one another, find support and care and identify ways to cope with the unique challenges they’re experiencing during this pandemic. Please register for this event here.

Also throughout the month of June, the City College of New York celebrates Pride Month with #CCNYPride 2020, a virtual observance to take a stand against all forms of violence, oppression and injustice and acknowledge the historic contributions of transgender women of color to the establishment of Pride Month and the greater campaign for LGBTQ rights. For more information on this social media campaign, please see the #CCNYPride2020 website

“Honoring the Lives and Legacy of LGBTQIA+ Community Leaders and Members” on June 24, from 1:00 p.m., is a virtual memorial hosted by Kingsborough Community College to remember and celebrate members of the college’s LGBTQIA+ community who have passed on. To RSVP, or to submit a name and photo of a loved one, please email:​.

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving 500,000 students of all ages and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

For over 15 years, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) has been leading online education in New York. Offering the most online Bachelor’s and Master’s degree options at the City University of New York, CUNY SPS meets the needs of adults who are looking to finish a bachelor’s degree, progress from an associate’s degree, earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field, and advance in the workplace or change careers.

The School’s growth has been remarkable, with twenty-three degrees launched since 2006. Enrollment has risen by more than 30% in the last four years to over 3,700 students in the credit-bearing programs and thousands more who are enrolled in non-degree and grant-funded workplace learning programs. In addition, the School has an active Alumni network and has established the CUNY SPS Foundation, which offers multiple scholarship opportunities to current students.

CUNY SPS has been ranked in the nation’s top 5% by U.S. News & World Report for the past six years, most recently in its list of the 2020 Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs, making CUNY SPS the highest nationally listed program in New York State and New York City

Press Contact
Andrea Fagon
Director of Marketing and Communications
(646) 664-8690