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Intentional Focus

ANNUAL INTENTIONAL FOCUS

The Pride Center grounds our work in the belief that all oppressions are interlinked, and that we cannot work toward liberation for LGBTQ+ communities unless liberation for all marginalized communities is centered.

For the past three years, we have chosen to operationalize this commitment by intentionally focusing on an area of intersectional justice. Through this process, we have been challenged critically, grown immensely, and fiercely deepened our work and our commitment. We are grateful to each of you for joining us in these commitments. It is important to note that these topics/focus areas are meant to build on one another. We firmly believe that all oppressions are interlinked and are rooted in white supremacy. As such, we consider our focus on Racial Justice and Decolonization as the foundation to our work as each focus builds from this foundation.

Below you will find information about each intentional focus with links to texts/resources that have helped us in our own learning. We encourage you to take a deeper dive into these topics and reach out if there are additional ways that you would like to partner with us in learning.

2019-2020 Intentional Focus: Prison Abolition

For the 2019-2020 academic year, our intetional focus was prison abolition. This was especially timely, as the summer of 2019 was when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, where, as stated in Captive Genders, “sexual and gender outsiders rose up against ongoing brutal police violence in an inspiring act of defiance.” 

Prison abolition, as defined by Critical Resistance, is a “broad strategy” that “means we must build models today that can represent how we want to live in the future.” The vision painted by this strategy is not only a world without prisons, but a world with accountability mechanisms and transformative justice. 

This intentional focus carries deep relevance within LGBTQ+ communities and will include: 

  • Imagining and exploring alternative forms of justice and accountability as a community

  • Identifying, unlearning, & dismantling the ways that we as individuals and as a campus perpetuate the  Prison Industrial Complex

  • Working with national and local abolitionist organizations

Resources: 

Campus Wide Announcement

Pride Center Cultivated Prison Abolition Resources

Transforming Harm and Encouraging Accountability

Vogue and Abolition

Mass Incarceration Bibliography

Re-entry Following Incarceration

2018-2019 Intentional Focus: Disability Justice

For the 2018-2019 academic year, our intentional focus was diability justice. This focus came about as a result of critical reflection on where we fell short and where we were called upon to do better. One particular instance that comes to mind happened during the planning process for a regional conference in 2017, where we failed to prioritize access and accessibility and caused harm to participants as a result.

Rather than downplay this mistake, we sought to lean in and further explore the intersections of disability and queerness and what these mean for us - both as individuals and as a team.  We have been moved by the words of Eli Clare, author and disability activist, who draws attention to these intersections by saying, “There are so many ways oppression and social injustice can mark a body, steal a body, feed lies and poison to a body.”

We have barely begun to scratch the surface of disability justice, a framework which holds that “all bodies are unique and essential, that all bodies have strengths and needs that must be met…. All bodies are caught in these bindings of ability, race, gender, sexuality, class, nation state and imperialism, and we cannot separate them.”

Building upon this, the intentional focus took a number of forms: 

  1. Partnering with Disability Support Services
  2. Informing our professional development efforts
  3. Prioritizing universal design in all that we do
  4. Using the lens of disability justice to inform our programming
  5. Interrogating and challenging our own internalized ableism
  6. Holding our institutional partners accountable to dismantling ableism

Resources: 

Campus Wide Announcement

Lehigh University Disability Support Services

Accessibility Checklist for University Events from UConn

How to Make an Accessible PowerPoint Presentation

ADA Removable Barrier Checklist

Syllabus from Talila Lewis: Disability Justice in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Disability Justice Resources from POC Online Classroom

2017-2018 Intentional Focus: Racial Justice and Decolonization

For the 2017-2018 academic year, our intentional focus was racial justice and decolonization. We are committed to the belief that all oppressions are interlinked, & that liberation for LGBTQIA+ communities cannot be achieved unless liberation for all marginalized communities is achieved.  As a result of this belief, we recognize the need to dive deeper into the practice of racial justice as a Pride Center community.

To us, racial justice and decolonization means exposing and shifting historical power narratives where whiteness has been centered.  We do this by working actively to dismantle racism & white supremacy on internal, interpersonal, institutional, and ideological levels.

Though this was the theme for the 2017-2018 academic year, we believe that racial justice should always be an integral part of our work.  

We plan to do this by:

  • Seeking opportunities to challenge ourselves and grow in our understanding and practice of racial justice
  • Centering the experiences of transgender women of color, who are among the most vulnerable within our communities
  • Asking ourselves actively, “How might we be centering whiteness?” and “How can we utilize this opportunity to pursue racial justice?”
  • Intentionally leveraging Pride Center resources to support people of color
  • Focusing our signature events, lunch & learn discussions, and LUally trainings purposefully on topics that relate to racial justice
  • Holding our institutional partners accountable in their efforts to pursue equity & inclusion

Resources: 

Campus Wide Announcement

ACPA Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice & Decolonization Syllabus