On Friday, September 15, we mourned the loss of a cherished member of the Pride Center of Maryland (PCOM) family, Dayona Canty. Known for her radiant smile, resilient personality, and nurturing spirit, Dayona's presence was a beacon of joy and support within our community.
During her time at PCOM, Dayona made immense contributions to our programming and outreach efforts. Alongside Dakota Smith and several members of the House of Champions, she co-founded the transformative program "City Scene." This PCOM initiative aims to reach out to LGBTQIA/SGL (same-gender-loving) youth within the local community, particularly those immersed in the vibrant ballroom scene. "City Scene" has become a sanctuary for these youth, fostering a nurturing environment for them to express their diverse identities freely, engage with the community, and hone their ballroom skills under thoughtful guidance. Through coaching, advocacy, and empowerment, this program has created a non-judgmental space where young individuals can flourish and find camaraderie.
The passing of Dayona Canty has left a deep void within the PCOM family. Her enthusiasm, dedication, and boundless support have left an indelible mark on our hearts. As we navigate through this profound loss, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Dayona's family and friends and urge our community members to keep them in their thoughts and prayers. Garrett Brunson, a close associate, beautifully encapsulated the essence of Dayona's spirit: "Dayona was a fearless leader, always ready to stand up and support you in any conceivable way. She served as a listening ear for all those in need, her comforting presence and beaming smile lighting up any room she entered. We love and cherish Dayona; she will forever reside in our hearts.”
Dayona Canty's legacy will continue to inspire and guide us as we uphold her deeply passionate ideals. Her life is a testament to the profound impact one individual can have in fostering love, understanding, and unity within a community. Through our continued efforts at the Pride Center of Maryland (PCOM), we strive to honor Dayona's memory by advancing the causes she held dear.