Pictured (left to right) are Bummah Ndeh and Timothy Tukes, attendees of the 2013 HRC HBCU Leadership and Career Summit, and classmates at Morehouse College, the alma mater of Voices on Point Scholar Gregory Davis. They are symbolizing the 'House', a familiar hand gesture of Morehouse students and alumni.
From November 2 through 5, I attended the Human Right Campaign (HRC)’s Historically Black College or University (HBCU) Leadership and Career Summit in Washington, D.C. Over the course of the summit, I got a chance to meet, mentor, embrace, and be amazed by LGBT representatives from some of the 106 HBCUs in the United States, including from Morehouse College, my alma mater. These students bravely collected over the four-day summit to engage in community building, career development, and political advocacy and left armed with the knowledge and power to enrich their local college communities for the betterment of LGBT students. Thanks to Point Foundation, I participated in this growth and got to introduce a new generation of underserved students to the Point Scholar community.
When I arrived to the conference on Sunday the 3rd, the summit was in its second day. The students – who were only introduced to each other less than 24 hours prior – had become fast friends and fierce allies for racial and LGBT justice. Wearing my Point Scholar polo shirt and my Morehouse College pin I introduced myself to many of the attendees during lunch. I was happy to find that many of the undergraduate and graduate HBCU students were already aware of Point Foundation and eager to learn more about the application.
Over the next few days I facilitated a resume critique with several of the students, became a campus advocacy mentor for one of the participants, and attended meals and mixers with many of the attendees and HRC staff. More important, I sat on the panel, “Life After College,” getting a great opportunity to talk to the entire group directly about being a Black LGBT post-grad, entering graduate school, leaving the safety of the HBCU and being on one’s own, and about the Point Scholarship and the scholar community. Additionally, Point Alumni Erika Turner and Noël Gordon both participated in the summit to share their stories and perspectives.
Flying back to Los Angeles on the night of the 4th, I felt that I had given a lot to the HBCU students, the least of which being more information about Point Foundation. I knew, however, that I received so much more. The HRC staff, the guest speakers and helpers, and finally the students themselves enriched my life with a great and profound sense of pride in the next generation of LGBT scholars, thinkers, advocates, and Point Scholars. One of the stated program outcomes of the HRC HBCU Leadership and Career Summit is for the HBCU students to “stand in [their] vision (individual and collective) as passionate, genuine leaders.” Thanks to Point Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign, I feel that I stand in my vision as well, and I have become a better leader because of it.
My special thanks to HRC, the Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, Sultan Shakir, and Samanta Master for hosting me, and to Point Foundation for sponsoring this occasion.
|This post was written by Voices On Point Scholar Gregory Davis
||Gregory Davis was raised with his brother by his mother, older sister, grandmother, and uncle in Detroit. In his studies, Gregory has explored the LGBTQ experience both within and outside of a racial context. He has focused on how African-American LGBTQ youth find, confirm, and fortify their identities in the face of possible social discrimination and prejudice based on their race and/or sexual orientation. As a JD/MA joint-degree candidate in Afro-American Studies and Law at UCLA, he devotes much time and effort to understanding the queer experience. Learn more about Gregory.