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Two students represent JCSU at Human Rights Campaign HBCU Leadership Summit

Emanuel Hester ’22 and Jasmine White ’20.

WASHINGOTN, D.C., November 19, 2019 - Johnson C. Smith University was well represented during the 14th annual Human Rights Campaign (HRC) HBCU Leadership Summit. This year, 49 students from 33 HBCU’s convened in Washington, D.C. November 7 – 12, 2019, including JCSU’s Emanuel Hester ’22 and Jasmine White ’20. 

“I learned so much about changing the stigma in society, fighting against adversity within HBCU’s and being a change agent for the LGBTQ community,” Hester said.

The five-day summit is the only leadership development and advocacy training program that empowers LGBTQ HBCU students to act as change-agents on their campuses and in their communities.

Hester added, “The whole experience really pushed me to make that change for students here at JCSU that must face adversity.”

During the summit, participants developed leadership skills in the key areas of self-awareness, awareness of others, courageous actions and collaboration to advocate for LGBTQ equality and other social justice issues. They achieved this by participating in group activities and team building exercises.

“Overall, the teambuilding skills will help me to work even better with people,” he said.

The summit has inspired Hester to be a leader of change on campus. He aspires to create a LGBTQ center that serves as a safe space for students on campus. He would also like to see more involvement from administration, faculty and staff when it comes to diversity and inclusion on campus.

“Help me be the change agent I desire to be. Change first starts with us, so I’m taking the initiative,” Hester emphasized.

The summit caps a year during which HRC’s HBCU program has launched a number of new initiatives, including a series of on-campus engagement events and the creation of #HBCUOutLoud Day that celebrates the visibility, awareness and stories of LGBTQ students, staff and alumni of HBCUs.

Emanuel Hester ’22 and Jasmine White ’20.

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