June is Pride Month, which recognizes the impact that the LGBTQIA+ community has had historically and locally and nationally. As we celebrate the stories, culture, and rights of queer culture, we had the opportunity to discuss what Pride means with 2020 Tillman Scholar Daris McInnis.
While teaching, Daris sought ways to support students beyond the classroom. He brought play opportunities to families at local D.C. shelters and later volunteered to teach at a Kenyan orphanage. Through Daris’ challenging yet fulfilling urban classroom teaching and volunteer experience, he was compelled to embark on a new journey in education. Daris currently studies reading, writing and literacy at Penn Graduate School of Education. He employs his experience and research to support literacy programs throughout Philadelphia. Upon program completion, Daris aspires to become a professor of education and use practice and research to advocate for early literacy programs in marginalized communities.
As we ask Daris what Pride means to him, he discusses with us the importance of uplifting and celebrating the individuals who have had to hide themselves from living their full life. He urges us to be unapologetically yourself and allow the world to see every part of who we are.
He explains to us the importance of celebrating and honoring the intersectionality of an individuals identities. Recognizing the oppressions and struggles that individuals have gone through in not only the queer community, but from all of the identities that make up each person. Pride comes in every shape, color, and gender; celebrating all of yourself is how you can celebrate this month and beyond.
As an educator, Daris explains to us the importance of LGBTQIA+ representation in the classroom. While he recognizes the progress that has been made, Daris discusses the recent uptick in access to books with queer narratives and notes that he believes Pride month is a critical time to bring light to these issues.