Taking Pride in Ourselves

Photo by Tony Webster.

One of our not-so-secret goals as a folk school is to create world peace by bringing together people from different cultures and ways of life. With the Twin Cities Pride Festival and other Pride events taking place this weekend, we wish to honor LGBTQ+ individuals who have been fighting for decades for equal rights.

The foundation of folk schools is actually built around our unique identities—who we are as individuals, in connection with the broader community. Nikolai Frederik Severin Gruntvald, the father of the folk school movement in Denmark in the 1800s, believed that individual identity cannot be separated from community. He encouraged placing our human identity at the core of education and believed that this, in part, would allow Denmark to become a successful democracy.

Modern folk schools have interpreted Gruntvald’s philosophy by promoting inner growth (as creative, thoughtful individuals) and social development (as tolerant, caring members of a community). No matter what classes they offer, this approach is at the heart of folk schools across the U.S. It’s what separates our model from other adult education institutions, for example.

This weekend, as Pride events like marches, concerts and picnics are taking place, don’t just think of them as insular events separate from the broader community. LGBTQ+ is one identity connected to a belief that is much larger and more precious:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [people] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

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