Post submitted by HBCU Project Manager Leslie Hall

As we mark Black History Month, HRC’s blog will feature the voices of African-American LGBT leaders and allies.

During this Black History Month, it is important that we reflect on the true purpose and mission  of our historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and why they were founded. The mission of access, opportunity and equality all ring true as we pave a path of acceptance and inclusion for our LGBTQ students.

HRC Foundation’s (HRCF) HBCU program empowers LGBTQ HBCU students to be change-agents on their campus and lead resourcefully through the intersections of race, religion, gender identity, class and sexual orientation.

Most recently, for example, HRCF’s HBCU project joined the University of Pennsylvania’s (UPenn) Center for Minority Serving Institution to host a Twitter chat about connecting HBCUs and the LGBTQ community titled, “Creating Safe & Inviting Spaces for Students & Staff”.

UPenn Center for MSI Assistant Director for Programs Lola Emisu and I co-led the conversation and several other higher education leaders joined us.

Together, we discussed institutional challenges, supporting transgender students and staff and increasing visibility of coalitions on campus.

While we honor Black History Month each February, HBCUs, as well as HRCF’s HBCU project, work year round to create an inclusive, opportunistic place for students. Working together, we can make sure HBCUs are a more inclusive places for all students, whether LGBTQ or allied.

The HBCU Project  provides training, technical assistance and gatherings to provide the support to all who are working to creating positive change on HBCU campuses. Learn more here.


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