The Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs Office hosted the LGBTQ History Month reception. Jason Schaefer, the office’s Graduate Student Assistant for LGBTQ Programs, was the host of the program and introduced the student speaker and our keynote speaker.
Alicia Phillips, The Pride Network co-chair and a third year student who identifies as transmasculine lesbian, spoke about her story and the ways to become involved with The Pride Network at Hofstra. According to Human Rights Campaign, 92% LGBT youth say they hear negative messages about being LGBT, mostly coming from school, the internet and peers. Alicia shared her personal experience of how her family was there to support her and how the negative aspects of her life and the hardships and her relationships with friends became better through time. Alicia is highly involved with the LGBT community on campus and attempts to provide more education opportunities for the Hofstra Community to learn and be open about the LGBTQ community on campus and elsewhere. Her goal is to educate future generations about this community in order to further promote equality.
Our Keynote speaker Carmen Vázquez is an activist, writer and community intellectual. Currently, she is the Coordinator of the LGBT Health & Human Services Unit for the NYS AIDS Institute. She is the former Deputy Executive Director of the Empire State Pride Agenda. She has worked hard to promote justice and not just equality. Her motivational and inspiring speech was not to only promote and create an equal society, but one that justice prevails. She requested everyone to be “seekers of justice”, to understand everyone that is going through hardships and defend their rights, because they are basic human rights. Throughout the Multipurpose Room, the LGBTQ community was celebrated and acknowledged, and with this reception and the future ones to come, the Hofstra community will grow and learn and understand that beyond equality, we need justice.