Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs)
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program educates and organizes students, faculty and administrators at HBCU campuses on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues specific to each institution’s needs. It opens campus-wide debate on LGBT issues, often for the first time. And it trains students to build viable student-led LGBT or LGBT-friendly organizations on campus. For many in the African American LGBT community, it is challenging to be who you are because you have additional cultural factors to consider- including having to deal with strong family foundations that emphasize heterosexuality and strong conservative religious ties within the Black Church.
Initiatives like the Human Rights Campaign’s HBCU Program can help a student begin to address issues such as sexual orientation, gender identity, family, school, and friends.
This special outreach program was launched in 2000 by HRC in the wake of a swell of violence against LGBT students at HBCUs. Since then the program has grown dramatically into a yearlong education, training and networking effort focusing on empowering, inspiring and educating LGBT HBCU students and their allies. Now in its eighth year the HBCU Program is the only one of its kind to reach out to students directly and support their LGBT or Gay-Straight Alliance groups to do advocacy work.
The Program connects student groups through following the inclusive road map for a campus: 1) Organize; 2) Unite; 3) Educate; 4) Advocate; 5) Anchor. Students are taught leadership and career skills that support their development on social justice and LGBT equality issues. Many learn the value of their identities and expand their career networks for future goals.