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Pride Resource Center pays tribute to trans community through origami art

Folded+paper+cranes+sit+in+the+center+of+the+table+as+students+participate+in+the+Pride+Resource+Centers+crane+folding+event+for+Transgender+Day+of+Remembrance+Nov.+6.+Cranes+are+considered+holy+creatures+in+Japan+and+throughout+Asia%2C+and+the+gift+of+1%2C000+paper+cranes+is+said+to+bring+health+and+long+life.
Collegian | Aria Paul
Folded paper cranes sit in the center of the table as students participate in the Pride Resource Center’s crane folding event for Transgender Day of Remembrance Nov. 6. Cranes are considered holy creatures in Japan and throughout Asia, and the gift of 1,000 paper cranes is said to bring health and long life.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is a safe space for speeches, poems and songs to celebrate the lives of those in the trans community who have passed due to anti-trans violence and legislation.

The Colorado State University Pride Resource Center hosted a Northern Colorado Trans Day of Remembrance & Resiliency event Nov. 16 in the Lory Student Center Theatre. 

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The PRC held a preliminary gathering Nov. 6 to prepare for this event, taking time to get creative with one another and make origami paper cranes and butterflies. The event served as a way for people to express their love and compassion for those who have passed, and the origami provided an artistic outlet for healing. 

“We should continue to fight to exist, although we shouldn’t have to because we are resilient, we are able, we believe, we care, we love, we cherish and we are part of a huge community that loves and cherishes us for who we are and who we continue to be.” -Pride Resource Center Program Coordinator Soleil Gonzalez

Ali Owens, one of the participants in the crane creations and butterflies, explained that the PRC does this event every year as a way to combine the therapeutic nature of art with grief. The cranes are made to show the historical significance of multiple cultures as a symbol of remembrance for those who have now passed. 

She also said that the paper butterflies represent the migration to Colorado as other states in the U.S. begin to introduce new laws that do not allow the LGBTQIA+ community to exist freely in public. 

“Art is such a powerful medium for expressing so many things that we see in terms of systems of oppression,” Owens said. “Art, historically, is an act of resistance in a lot of ways, and it’s good to honor that tradition.” 

During the event, the cranes were hung from the podium, allowing the rainbow colors of the cranes to bring light to the dimly lit room. Then, during the ceremony, guests lined up before the podium and spoke the names of people who had passed. Their names were written on the newly made cranes and hung on a board, resulting in the butterflies forming the word “hope.” 

“We should continue to fight to exist, although we shouldn’t have to because we are resilient, we are able, we believe, we care, we love, we cherish and we are part of a huge community that loves and cherishes us for who we are and who we continue to be,” CSU graduate and PRC Program Coordinator Soleil Gonzalez said during their speech.

As people gathered and took turns sharing their perspectives and stories through poetry, song and speech, it was clear that while this was a time to feel grief and loss, it was also a reminder of hope and how important a healthy community is. 

“We are here today to claim our rightful place in the novels of history — not as footnotes but as authors of our destiny,” CSU student Ricky Winston said during her speech. “Our journey is not without its challenges; we face a world that often looks at us with eyes clouded by ignorance and hearts tainted by bias, but let us remember the ignorance of others could never diminish the truth of our existence. We are here, we are here and our lives are valued. We will remember those we’ve lost to the violence of hate, and in their memory, we forge a path of love and acceptance.” 

The night ended with tears, hugs and storytelling as the rainbow cranes and butterflies filled the room with a new sense of light.

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Reach Ruby Secrest at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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