32 THE QUEENS COURIER • KIDS & EDUCATION • MAY 27, 2021 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
HIGHER ED TODAY
Full of optimism awakened by the
recent lifting of COVID restrictions,
Americans from coast to coast are beginning
to take cautious, but hopeful
first steps toward the promise of a postpandemic
world. It makes for an ideal
time to celebrate Pride Month and acknowledge
the rich legacy of the LGBTQ
movement, and the many dedicated activists
who aroused the conscience of a
nation during the AIDS pandemic, ultimately
helping create a freer and more
The integral role the City University
of New York played in this historic
movement is a point of great pride.
CUNY is the home of the nation’s first
university-based research institute dedicated
to the history, culture, politics
and struggles of the LGBTQ community.
CLAGS, now called the Center for LGBTQ
Studies and housed at the CUNY
Graduate Center, continues to serve as
a national resource for the promotion of
scholarship that fosters social change.
The same can be said for the LGBT Social
Science & Public Policy Center, created
in 2008 at Hunter College, which
supports research that informs public
policy decisions on LGBTQ issues.
CLAGS was created by Martin Duberman,
a distinguished professor of
history and a trailblazing scholar, playwright
and activist. Duberman wrote
the landmark Stonewall: The Definitive
Story of the LGBTQ Rights Uprising
that Changed America, about the 1969
Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village,
the catalyzing event that gave birth to
the gay rights movement.
CUNY scholars continue to contribute
to the literature of the movement.
Just last month Sarah Schulman, a
distinguished professor of the humanities
at the College of Staten Island, published
Let the Record Show: A Political
History of ACT UP New York 1987-1993,
the definitive story of the direct-action
activists of ACT UP who refused to be
silent during the AIDS pandemic that
gripped our nation and world.
This tradition continues as we offer
enriching and innovative programs to
benefit our LGBTQ students. Recently,
we launched the CUNY LGBTQI+ Advocacy
Academy, where some 20 students
from around the University are taking
a seminar-style course to develop their
leadership skills by learning the ins
and outs of political advocacy, policy
development, community organizing,
and civic engagement, so that they can
become the next generation of LGBTQ
leaders. I was pleased to virtually attend
the first meeting of the class, led
by former New York City Councilman
Jimmy Vacca, now a distinguished lecturer
at Queens College.
Last month we also launched the
CUNY LGBTQI+ Summer Internship
program with a virtual conference,
which I attended along with the presidents
of Baruch College, The City College
of New York and LaGuardia Community
College, as well as leaders interested in
providing career engagement opportunities
in the private, cultural and nonprofit
sectors for our LGBTQI+ students.
The recruitment process begins this fall
and the program will officially welcome
its first cohort next summer. Both programs
benefit from the generosity and
leadership of Mitch Draizin, the founder
and president of the Concordia Philanthropic
Fund, whose mission is to support
youth leadership initiatives for the
These programs, as well as our ongoing
scholarship devoted to LGBTQ
history, are a reflection of CUNY’s
historic values of inclusivity, diversity
and the pursuit of social justice.
In that spirit we recently created a
one-stop online tool, the CUNY LGBTQI+
Hub, which collects the resources
available to our LGBTQI+
community in one centralized location,
so they know that CUNY is the
safe environment they need to thrive
There is hope and optimism in the
air, something that has been in short
supply in recent months. As we celebrate
this Pride Month in a safe and
responsible manner, let’s remember
all that we have to be proud of and
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