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February 14, 2012

UMBC to Host BMore Proud Leadership Summit

Chelsea Haddaway Williams
UMBC Communications Manager

On Saturday, February 18, UMBC will host the third annual BMore Proud Leadership Summit, an all-day conference for Baltimore-area college students, faculty and staff to focus on LGBTQIA issues. It is the first time that the conference will be held at UMBC.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Intersections,” highlighting the role of diversity and its complexities within the LGBTQIA community. Throughout the day, participants will be able to choose attend workshops, lectures, and discussions lead by various activists, students, and partners from the great Baltimore area. Discussions will cover issues including the position of queer minorities in the community, the role of genetics in sexual orientation and reconciling sexual orientation and faith.

One goal of the conference is allowing students and activists from the LGBTQIA community to network and make connections, explained Okemeteri Esiekpe, the graduate coordinator for LGBTQ programs in UMBC’s office of student life. “Networking is an important component of the conference,” she said. “I hope that attendees will gain a sense of pride in who they are, gain newfound friendships and create professional and personal networks.”

The keynote speaker at the conference is Delegate Mary Washington, the first out Black lesbian to be elected to a state-wide office in Maryland (and the second in the US). The evening performer, Andrea Gibson, has won many awards for her spoken-word poetry.

B’More Proud is a coalition of Baltimore-area colleges and universities’ LGBT students and their allies that promotes personal and professional growth of this community through leadership development, academic scholarship, educational programming and social networking opportunities.

The Leadership Summits are student-planned, with the help of staff advisers. UMBC students have been working with UMBC’s Office of Student Life and Mosaic Center to plan the event.

“A conference like this is important because of the national recognition UMBC has received for its diversity. We certainly welcome and celebrate this unique aspect of our community. However, the focus on diversity often includes race and ethnicity while overlooking sexual orientation and gender identity. The summit helps to bring focus to these diverse components of identity,” Esiekpe said.

Posted by chelseah at February 14, 2012 3:46 PM