By Anna Soderholm
The Fargo-Moorhead Pride Collective and Community Center recently relocated. On opening day, hundreds of LGBTQ members of the community gathered around the new center as they waited to catch a glimpse of what the new space looked like. Team members Mara Morken-Fogarty and Geneva Nemzek recall opening day as one of their favorite events yet.
“When Geneva and I stood on this table to welcome everyone and to give credit to the people who helped make this happen, it was a sea of faces,” Morken-Fogarty said. “Truly, we couldn’t fit enough people in here.”
While the old space could only fit 20 people at best, the new space is multifunctional so there can be events, seminars, and space utilized for doing homework and socializing.
“My dream for this space is that it becomes a regularly used safe-zone for people. We’ve never had a place like this before,” Morken-Fogarty said. “The ability to do programing that we couldn’t do before, we have now.”
The building will be staffed during selective hours of the week, which can be found on the center’s Facebook site. During these hours, anyone is welcome to come in for a snack, to socialize, or to utilize the resources the center provides.
“It was cool to see people exchanging numbers and those who are still friends now,” Nemzek said.
While some may be hesitant to come into the center for the first time, staff members are sure to make each person feel at home.
“Out of the different people who come here, each have different levels of ability to be here,” Morken said.
For Christina Lindseth, hanging out at the center lead to the initial meeting of her partner.
“It’s been a great opportunity personally and professionally,” Lindseth said. “I continue to get to know more people and I think it strengthens our relationship knowing that’s where we met.”
Lindseth mentioned that from a professional standpoint, it allows her to network and meet people like her who have access to different resources in the community. In addition, she discussed that overcoming the nervousness that may go along with visiting the first time is well worth it.
“People who are coming out can visit the center and say ‘here’s a place where I can find people who are like me,’” Lindseth said. “It’s a little family where they’re not going to be judged, it’s invaluable. You’re going to be surprised at what you’re going to find.”
Within the upcoming months, the center will be hosting different events for community members and specifically college students, such as a social for students who want to connect with other LGBTQ community members from NDSU, MSUM, Concordia, and M State.
The new center is located at 1105 1st Ave. S. Fargo and is always looking for volunteers.
With the mission “to create a sense of community and promote education and social activities aimed at furthering the social and physical well-being and development of the LGBT community in the Red River Valley,” the center is always open to new ideas. Anyone with ideas for events or programs are encouraged to contact the center.
Additional information about the center can be found at http://www.pridecollective.com or a staff member can be reached at 218-287-8034.