On Wednesday night, Penn State’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity hosted “Black Queer Commemoration,” an exhibit highlighting those influential in activism for Black queer individuals.
Eric Duran, the host of the event and program coordinator for the Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, said the center wanted to honor Black and LGBTQ history through the exhibit.
“We want to commemorate all Black and LGBTQ people, and really any icons in historical events,” Duran said.
The event started by highlighting the activists and celebrities who have defined Black queer history since the 1920s, depicting not just those in government and elected offices but also actors, athletes and personalities.
Tawaih M’Carthy, a Ghanaian born playwright who rose to prominence with his play “Obaaberima,” and Harlem Renaissance poet Angelina W. Grimke were two artists mentioned in the exhibit.
In the world of sports, athletes Josh Dixon and Nicola Adams were recognized for using their platform as an olympic gymnast and boxer, respectively, to inspire the next generation of both Black and LGTBQ youth all over the world.
Also featured at the event were Penn State alumni and associates who have contributed to creating an accepting culture for all students, especially those who identify as African American and queer.
The event depicted a timeline of events, ranging from an original Black queer human rights organization that originated in 1924 to current events like Philadelphia City Hall’s adding of two colors to the pride flag.
Given that, and the remains of panels in the center, the exhibit’s creators decided to utilize the panels and turn the display into a panel-style exhibit, according to Duran.
According to Duran, the creators decided to utilize panels in the making of the commemoration exhibit, which is located in Penn State’s HUB-Robeson Center.
While no students were able to speak at this year’s presentation as they had in previous years, Duran ensured that the displays were updated and students could still come experience African American and queer history.
“We want our future programs to focus on the intersections of different identities within the community.”