Lakesha Winley, HBCU summitThe following post comes from North Carolina Central University graduate and former HRC HBCU Leadership and Career Summit participant Lakesha Winley:

Prior to applying to HRC’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Leadership and Career Summit, I was in a space where everything and everyone bothered me. I felt like none of the people surrounding me cared about social justice, LGBT individuals, or equality.

One day while interning at the counseling center on my university’s campus the director sent me an email that talked about the HBCU Leadership Summit. After reading the application, I decided to apply. I had to know what it felt like to be in a space with people who were just as passionate as I am about LGBT equality and social justice.

From the summit I took skills, knowledge, and tools that helped me to become a more effective leader and advocate. I also left with a group of friends I feel like I’ve known my entire life. Whenever one of us needs anything or has some idea about how to change the world we can call and feed off of each other which is an amazing feeling. 

This summit was what I needed to go back to my university and make a difference. Upon returning to school I was able to help develop and work as the first graduate student in the LGBTA Resource lounge.

In May 2013, my university became the second HBCU to open a resource center for LGBT individuals.


HRC’s HBCU Leadership and Career Summit is a four-day intensive summit that brings together LGBT student leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country to help them build skills and connections to better advocate for LGBT equality and other social justice issues on their campus and in their community. The 2013 summit will be held November 2-5 at HRC headquarters in Washington, DC. Travel to and from DC, lodging and food are provided to accepted participants. The deadline to apply is September 29. Click here to learn more and apply today!

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