Main Street Kent Proves Diversity and Inclusion Are Truly Town-Gown

City organization hosts inaugural Kent Rainbow Weekend March 6 and 7; comedian Judy Gold to headline show at Kent Stage.

While Kent State University prides itself on providing a diverse and inclusive community for students, faculty and staff, Main Street Kent is showing how the city of Kent also embraces the same sentiment.

Main Street Kent, the non-profit organization that promotes the revitalization of downtown Kent, is hosting the first ever Kent Rainbow Weekend, March 6 and 7, with a variety of activities including comedy, artists, musicians, performers and education all in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

"We're excited to bring our first event like this to Kent, where art, music, fun, inclusivity and acceptance are all a part of everyday life," said Heather Malarcik, executive director of Main Street Kent.

Ken Ditlevson, director of Kent State’s LGBTQ+ Center, said he was excited about the Rainbow Weekend.
Safe Space Ally training will be offered at Rainbow Weekend.

“The schedule of events and activities is pretty impressive, especially since this is the inaugural Kent Rainbow Weekend. It started off as a just a couple events, but after Main Street Kent put the call out to local businesses, the event list grew quickly.I can’t wait to be part of the celebration,” he said.

He said the weekend shows how supporting diversity and inclusion is truly a city-university effort.

“I think it will help our students feel embraced by their greater community and not just the university,” Ditlevson said. “It will also allow Kent State to share resources and education on LGBTQ+ issues with the greater community as well.”

Proceeds from various aspects of the weekend will benefit Kent State’s LGBTQ+ Center’s Emergency Fund, which provides financial assistance to LGBTQ+ students in need of emergency funds for books, academic supplies, household items, housing of food. Kent Roosevelt High School’s Gay Straight Alliance also will receive proceeds along with other groups.

Ditlevson noted how money from the fund can really make a difference in the life of a student, who without the financial support might otherwise have to drop out of college.

As part of the weekend, staff from Kent State’s LGBTQ+ Center will provide free Safe Space Ally training from 2 to 4 p.m. March 7. Registration is limited to 50; reservations can be made at Eventbrite

Entertainment headliner for the weekend will be comedian Judy Gold, who will perform live at the Kent Stage at 7:30 p.m. March 6. For tickets for Gold’s performance, visit the Kent Stage.

Gold is an award-winning actor and writer who has had stand-up comedy specials on HBO and Comedy Central, as well as a wide array of television appearances. Is the author of the upcoming book from Dey Street Books, “YES I CAN SAY THAT – When They Come for the Comedians We’re All in Trouble,” and host of the weekly podcast “Kill Me Now.”

The weekend will kick off at Venice Cafe at 5 p.m. March 6, with welcome remarks by representatives from Main Street Kent, the city of Kent and Kent State.

For a full list of Rainbow Weekend events visit Main Street Kent

POSTED: Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 4:43pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 11:31am
Lisa Abraham