Meet Our Scholars
Urban Studies & Africana Studies
Alex was born and raised in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Growing up in an ethnically diverse city, one rife with racial injustice and poverty provided Alex with a unique perspective on issues of racial, economic, and social justice. Alex came out as a sophomore in high school and was one of the first openly gay students at Holyoke High School. In an effort to help other students like him, Alex started a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at his school, which soon became one of the most influential student groups on campus. As president of the GSA, Alex planned his school's first school-wide assembly on issues important to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community (LGBTQ) and organized the school's first faculty training on LGBTQ issues. Outside of school, Alex founded the Holyoke LGBTQ Task Force and organized the 1st Annual Western Massachusetts Youth Pride Prom, an alternative prom for LGBTQ students and their allies. A graduate of Brown University, Alex double majored in urban studies and Africana studies. Alex recognizes the unique challenges of LGBTQ youth of color and wants to use his education to work towards dismantling systems of power and privilege that have historically oppressed people of color, the poor, and the LGBTQ community. Most important to Alex is an LGBTQ rights movement that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds. In November, 2011 Alex was elected Mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, becoming at age 22 the youngest openly-gay Mayor of an American city.