Once again, join us as we'll have an entire party room as our safe environment. There will be plenty of tables and space! Please ask at check in to be directed to the private room. There will be a Greeter to check you in and hand out your rainbow ribbon pendant and have fun and food with us! Thanks to #DaveandBustersfFesno#LGBTFresno
6pm - 8pm
Theme: Friendsgiving *Wait-Staff for No host food and drink will be available for purchase.* There will be door prizes and picture booth with Love & Thanksgiving props. This is not a couples event, this a come one or come as a pair or group to have fun with us. 1/2 Price Games Happy Hour 4-7pm. 1/2 Price Cocktails* $2.50 Domestic Pints $1 Off 22 oz Drafts $1 Off Wine Glasses $3 Off Wine Bottles If you sign-up for Dave & Buster's Rewards you get $10 FREE game play with $10 game play purchase – just for joining! (Must redeem prior to this date, no game coupon offers valid for 1/2 price games day.)
For some people, it is hard to reach out for help even when they desperately need it. Fortunately, there will always be people and organizations waiting to help no matter what. An example of that is Jennifer Cruz and the organization she manages.
The Fresno EOC Sanctuary LGBTQ Resource Center is a place for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies to hang out in a safe place, get much needed resources, and for groups to meet. Jennifer Cruz was hired to be the manager of the center and has worked hard to make it what it is today.
“The goal was to open a drop-in type space that would serve all ages of the LGBT community,” Cruz explains. “To provide a safe place for people to be, even like a hangout spot where someone could watch TV, or play games, or hang with friends but also be able to access a case manager.
We’ll be able to provide housing needs assessments; they can get a meal if they’re hungry or a cup of coffee. So, that we’re providing those basic needs before we’re asking what other services you want.”
Apart from these services, the center is also able to help to individuals with other needs by directing them to the appropriate resources. Whether it’s legal or mental help, the resource center can connect people with the assistance they need. The resource center also has space to hold group meetings, such as an LGBTQ+ AA meeting, or a support group for disabled LGBTQ+ individuals. They also host fun events on every third Friday of each month; last month they had a karaoke night where they had around 20 people singing and having fun.
Located on Fulton street, the center is relatively new, but they are already making an impact. Cruz estimates that around 20 people come to the resource center on a weekly basis. She also talked about wanting the center to grow and to be able to provide more services in the future, by getting more grants and by taking advantage of the space their building has.
From an in-house attorney to a massage therapist to even a cafe, Cruz wants to expand the center so it can have as much resources as possible. The resource center wants to do everything possible to help people. They even have a phone number located on their website where people can call or text to get resources if they don’t want to go directly to the center.
“We’re aware of the discrimination that happens,” Cruz says. “Fresno can be a scary place to be for some people. Especially depending on where they fall on that LGBT category. Safety first of course, and we want everyone to have the resources they need.”
When news headlines are dominated by disasters and political turmoil; it’s easy to forget the good in the world. It’s even easy to overlook the good happening in our own community; good that community members Randall Velasco-Stoll and Leon Velasco-Stoll are doing.
Founders of the Fresno Spectrum Center, Randall and Leon are here to assist the LGBTQ+ community members and allies as well. They provide resources and a safe space for people to come hang out and meet other members of the community. They provide board games, video games, and books for people to enjoy. The center also provides space for groups to have meetings or trainings. They provide this service for free, but a donation is always appreciated but not necessary.
“We developed a relationship with a lot of other non-profits, and in some cases, have also helped them become more LGBT friendly and become allies,” Randy explains. “So, we can help refer people that may have services; from anything like domestic violence situations or they don’t have enough food in their refrigerator for their family. We can help provide resources and stuff for them to make connections so that they can fulfill those needs.”
Randall and Leon also founded the LGBT Pink Panthers Movement; an anti-bullying organization. Founded around 5 years ago, the Pink Panthers Movement would be the first step into creating the Spectrum Center.
Located near Princeton and Blackstone, the Fresno Spectrum Center was founded by Randall and Leon, but they had plenty of help along the way. One of the biggest contributors, was Leon’s mom.
“It started off as an idea and [Leon’s] mom saying, ‘yeah you guys need to do this,’” Randall explains. “’You need to develop this, Hun, I’m behind you to help you.’ So, that’s how the LGBT Pink Panther’s came about; she was actually on the first board and she was a really big supporter.”
“She kind of helped to bring about that idea through her knowledge and was able to pass that on to us. Plus, we were also able to contact some of our mentors, like my mentors in the community; Jeff Robinson, Peter Robinson.”
Although it was a long journey for the idea of the Spectrum Center to become a reality; they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. They have plans for the future. They are looking to get a grant to fund their Arts and Crafts night, which is hosted on the first Friday of every month. They’re also looking to get a grant for their resource fair. In the future, they want to expand to be able to help more people and provide more services. The Spectrum Center is always looking to help people.
“We just want people to walk in and be like ‘Oh wow, this is going to be okay’, Randall says. “If they read anything or see anything on the bulletin board; they see things that are going to make them feel safer.”
Fresno State celebrated its LGBTQ+ community with its second annual pride week on campus. From Oct. 7 to Oct. 11, there was an event each day to promote diversity and to celebrate the community.
The first day there was an information center with resources for LGBTQ+ members and for allies. Then on Tuesday, they held a safe zone training; the next day was a pronoun politics workshop. Thursday was a day to show your pride on Instagram and Facebook. Finally, on Friday, a pride party was held for the LGBTQ+ community along with allies to make some new friends and get to know each other better. The week was led by Kiana Medina, teaching credential student who works for the Cross Cultural and Gender Center.
“Our overall mission is to ensure that students feel belonged, they have a sense of belonging on campus as well as inclusion,” Medina explains. “So, having an increased sense of diversity, inclusion, and belonging on Fresno State’s campus. So, being able to come on to campus and say,’ I am represented here, I belong here, I am included here, my identities are respected here.’”
Medina says that both years pride week have been a success, with a decent turnout for the events. For the information fair, there were a number of students stopping by to learn more about resources. For the pronoun politics workshop, Medina says over thirty people came. It wasn’t only students who showed up, but also faculty members as well.
Dr. Francine Oputa, director of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center, spoke on the first day to welcome people to a week of fun events. Also speaking at the event was Vice President of student affairs, Dr. Frank Lamas. President of the University, Joseph Castro, also made an appearance and spoke about how he was pleased with this event for being able to showcase the LGBTQ+ and to raise awareness of the diversity Fresno State has. Medina was excited to have President Castro speak at the pride week event.
“I know they’re very busy people, but they really tried their hardest to come to our event, to participate especially within our center.”
Overall, Fresno State made an effort to show its support for the events, the Henry Madden Library was represented at the information fair by the Anne Nixon center and by the Library Diversity Community (LDC). Sarah Pech, library specialist, was there on the behalf of the LDC, showcasing the different LGBTQ+ literature, movies, and CDs.
“The entire library, all of our materials, we really try to be inclusive and diverse as possible,” Pech explains. “You know, regarding subjects for school, regarding, I think really any matter. We really just want all students to feel comfortable in all parts of the library.”
Although pride week has come to an end, Medina wants to let people know that the Cross Cultural and Gender Center is there all year to help the LGBTQ+ community.
“You can come to the center and meet me or anyone on my team,” Medina says. “So, it’s exciting to have a week that solely focuses on our identities and our experiences but we’re always here for you.”