Oct. 20, 2008 – Human rights activist, poet and teacher Ericka Huggins will give the keynote address at this year’s Pride Week Celebration at the University of Utah. Activate, Transform, Evolve is the title for Pride Week which will take place from October 20th through the 24th and will feature a variety of events. Huggins will speak on October 23 at noon in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. A “gay-la” dinner and silent auction will close the week’s events on October 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the IJ and Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center located at 2 North Medical Drive.
Each year the University of Utah Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center presents Pride Week as a way to support and fund educational and social programs, to foster safe spaces for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and for the community to engage in dialogue around issues that face LGBT individuals.
“The University of Utah prides itself on providing students with an extraordinary education – one that embraces diverse perspectives and offers a rich panorama of ideas and viewpoints,” said Michael K. Young, president of the university. “As such, we welcome LGBT Pride Week at the U. and celebrate the contributions of LGBT students, faculty and alumni who enrich the culture of our campus and our community. Together, we can create an educational environment that fills students with a greater understanding and respect for all people.”
“The Pride Committee, a fabulous group of people, worked really hard to plan events that everyone can enjoy,” said Cathy Martinez, director of the LGBT Resource Center at the university. “My hope is that people will celebrate the diversity of the LGBT campus community and join us as we educate and inform.”
Dhiraj Chand is a student and the co-chair of the University of Utah Pride planning committee. He states, “It is important for the University to have programs that increase awareness of LGBT students and the larger community. In addition, it is critical that we have safe spaces where everyone can engage, celebrate and be empowered. With the political season in full swing and this year’s keynote speaker, Ericka Huggins, I am confident that this will be our most active and successful Pride celebration. This year’s celebration event lineup is fantastic and I encourage more students and campus community members to participate!”
Keynote speaker Ericka Huggins is a former Black Panther leader and political prisoner. She has lectured throughout the United States for the last 25 years. Her extraordinary life experiences enable her to speak personally and eloquently on issues relating to the physical and emotional well-being of women and of children, to youth, and about incarceration, education, and the role of spiritual practice in sustaining activism and promoting change.
All Pride Week events, with the exception of the Gay-la Dinner and Silent Auction, are free. Tickets for the Gay-la and Silent Auction are $650 for a table of ten, or $65 for an individual seat. Students may purchase reduced price tickets for $45 each. Auction items include ski resort passes and dinner passes to various area restaurants and a week’s stay in Costa Rica. A raffle will also be held and tickets will sell separately for $20 each. Other activities include a Pride Dance, Open Safe Zone Training, A Pride Pet Show and a panel presentation, “Balancing Multiple Identities: Students of Color.” Pride Week events are open to the public, LGBT students, staff and faculty, community members, and their straight allies. For more information or to purchase tickets to the Gay-la and Silent Auction, visit http://www.sa.utah.edu/lgbt or call (801) 587-7973.