Queer People of Color and Allies create network of support with welcome event

Josh Willis

The Queer People of Color and Allies (QPOCA) held a welcome event in front of Gregory Gym on Thursday to connect queer students with supportive organizations. Bloq Party, an annual event put on by QPOCA, an agency of the UT Multicultural Engagement Center (MEC), is an event to welcome new and returning queer students, according to linguistics junior Noli Chew, an event organizer.

Microbiology senior Javier Rivera said the event connects queer students and allies to a variety of like-minded organizations across campus.

“The most important thing [about Bloq Party] is to connect first-year students or transfer students to resources on campus, to groups of campus, groups they can identify with ­­­— especially queer-related groups,” Rivera said.

According to Marisa Kent, marketing and sociology senior, organizations represented at Bloq Party were diverse and wished to show support and help create a network.

“We pulled a lot of different organizations from a lot of different areas of campus,” Kent said. “A lot of these are queer organizations, whether it be specifically for advocacy [or] all the way down to social organizations that are for our students to meet and engage with other students to get a better understanding of the community that we’ve created for the queer population on campus.”

Kent said a variety of cultural communities tabled at the event, including the Native American Indigenous Collective, Afrikan American Affairs, Students for Equity and Diversity, Asian Pacific Islander American Collective, among others from the MEC. Other UT organizations like Voices Against Violence, the Gender and Sexuality Center and the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center also attended Linda Serna, women’s and gender studies and sociology senior, said she feels QPOCA holds a very important role in connecting a community that sometimes feels disjointed.

“Being a part of QPOCA is important to build a community with new students, returning students, students who might not feel like they have a place on our campus yet,” Serna said. “It’s really important to me to build out those bridges to other folks and really have a place where we can start talking and having real conversations on what it means to hold
our identities.”