In my time at Howard University, I have been an advocate for students. My mission is to ensure all students have access to everything that Howard provides and everything they need. As a graduating senior, I naturally feel a sense of nostalgia and a need to reflect on my four years, especially since I have been a student leader for three of those years.
The organization I have spent most of my time with is the Coalition of Activist Students Celebrating the Acceptance of Diversity and Equality, commonly known as CASCADE. Our mission is to advocate for LGBTQ undergraduate Howard students, and we are the oldest LGBTQ student organization at an HBCU.
We were founded 41 years ago, and since then, we’ve been fighting for the full acceptance of LGBTQ students in Black spaces. While full acceptance and celebration are still our goals, we also want the spaces we are in to be just as queer as Black; This is why we held our inaugural As Queer As It Is Black Conference to discuss three years ago.
On March 26th, 2021, we held our third annual conference. This conference featured the Deputy Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, the Black Aids Institute, students, university staff, and even the university president.
This conference served to educate and mobilize faculty, staff, students, and community members towards intersectional LGBTQ+ change, covering topics such as political rebirth, the importance of language, and surviving Covid-19 while being Black & Queer. We also represented the mission of Howard University and its commitment to “to produce leaders for America and the global community.”
Howard is a leader among HBCUs in its inclusivity towards LGBTQ+ students. To maintain this role, we must continue to move fearlessly forward in our efforts to build a campus that is committed to safety, inclusivity, and excellence, where all students serve in their truth.
I hope that this conference will continue to contribute towards increased inclusivity and allow students to live in their truth.