School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘LGBTQ’

Renowned LGBTQ Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Speaks at Overby Center

Posted on: January 31st, 2020 by ldrucker

A LGBTQ+ activist with a 53-year history of justice organizing who was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize  spoke at the Overby Center Thursday, Feb. 13.

Mandy Carter talked about “Advancing Each Other: Building Coalitions Across Communities” during an event sponsored by the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, and the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, and Center for the Study of Southern Culture as part of their SouthTalks series.

Mark Dolan, associate professor of journalism for the UM School of Journalism and New Media, said Carter’s message was about how to build coalitions among communities to spark change.

Mandy Carter, LGBTQ+ activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee

Mandy Carter, LGBTQ+ activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee

“The goal is to have a dialogue on stage, to reveal for students who are interested in activism a way to go about it on a grassroots level – how to organize, energize, and spark change, Dolan said in an earlier interview. “This is an enormous opportunity for all students to hear the story of an activist legend.”

Mandy Carter is a Southern, Black, human-rights activist and a legend in the LGBTQ+ community. She is co-founder of Southerners On New Ground, or SONG, a human rights organization devoted to uniting LGBTQ people in the South and assisting the poor, rural and working class, immigrants and people of color, to become leaders in shaping the region’s future.

Her talk focused on personal and grassroots activism based on her 53-year movement of activism history, according to a news release and bio provided. She explored how diverse communities might unite around shared goals of peace and justice, a collective process forging strong, collaborative bonds.

Carter was first introduced to activism in 1965 when the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee visited her high school in upstate New York. Two years later, she hitchhiked across the country to San Francisco and began working with the pacifist-based War Resister’s League. She also participated in the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.

In San Francisco, she noticed sizable numbers of displaced gay and lesbian youth from the South who had moved to California in search of a more welcoming place. Carter never forgot their voices, wondering how she might work with others, outsiders and insiders alike, to forge stronger ties, a sense of belonging, and thus more transformed communities.

She moved to North Carolina in 1983 and co-founded SONG. Carter has been called “one of the nation’s leading African American lesbian activists,” by the National Organization for Women. In 2002, she worked to enlist the LGBTQ community to improve conditions for striking workers at the Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc. in Mt. Olive, North Carolina.

Carter was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005, recognizing the peace work of women around the world.

Underscoring the importance of electoral politics in social change movements, Carter was one of the five national co-chairs of Obama LGBT Pride, the national LGBT infrastructure for Barack Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign and win. She organized grassroots networks, especially people of color throughout the South.

She has also been the national coordinator of the Bayard Rustin 2013 Commemoration Project of the National Black Justice Coalition.

She worked on many national and regional lesbian and gay pride marches, including the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbians and Gays. She is dedicated to connecting communities through activism and economic justice.

During her talk at the Overby Center, she was joined on stage by two UM students: JoAnndria Brown, a senior biochemistry major, and Kendrick Wallace, a master’s student in higher ed.

She was also joined by two faculty and staff members from the Sarah Isom Center. Sarah Heying is a graduate instructor of gender studies. She is a Ph.D. student in English literature at UM, where she researches lesbian and trans aesthetics in periodicals, comics, and genre fiction.

Hooper Schultz is a second year MA student whose research focuses on the Queer South, and the history of LGBTQ activism in North Carolina.

UM School of Journalism and New Media professor wins Vicki Mahan Ally of the Year Award

Posted on: May 8th, 2019 by ldrucker

A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media professor has been recognized for her work to make UM more inclusive for all students.

Alysia Burton Steele, assistant professor of journalism, has been named the recipient of the Vicki Mahan Ally of the Year Award. The award recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make the university a welcoming, accepting, and inclusive place for LGBTQ students, faculty and staff.

We asked Steele a few questions about the award.


Q. How did you feel when you were named as a winner of the award?

I was surprised and excited by the awards. Kevin Cozart, Deb Wenger, Bobby Steele and Brittany Brown created a fake reason for me to come on campus that day, and I came because I thought Brittany was receiving an award. So, they lied to me – but for a good reason. I had no idea I was nominated, and it’s quite an honor.

Q. For those who don’t know, what is the award?

The Vicki Mahan Ally of the Year Award is an award where faculty members are honored for their contributions and dedication to inclusiveness regarding the LGBTQ community. It appears a former student from five years ago, Sha Simpson, nominated me for helping her stay focused with her studies, and I encouraged her to get counseling. I assured her there was nothing wrong with getting help, and I wanted her to know that I was always going to be there for her.

When her family cut ties with her after she came out, it broke my heart to see her struggling, and after all these years, I can’t believe Sha wrote to Kevin Cozart and nominated me. When I heard Kevin reading her letter, I thought it sounded like Sha, but I wasn’t sure. At that point, I didn’t know the award was for me. I burst into tears when my name was called because the letter was touching, and well, I love Sha like a daughter.

Q. Why were you told you won the award?

I am a big supporter of people being true to themselves – no matter how they identify. I do not judge people based on sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity – everything that comes with diversity, I am supporting it. I am biracial, and come from a very welcoming, loving family.

From childhood, my mother Stella Duncan always instilled me in me to accept people for who they are – that we have no reason to judge. I want every student to know that my office is a safe space, and I am always willing to help. That is just who I am as a person, but I’m honored to be recognized for that.

Diversity is in everything I do, so no matter what class I teach, what scholarship I create, what service I pledge, I will always include diversity – it’s what makes this world a better place. So, I’m just going to keep being me.

Street honored for making University of Mississippi more inclusive for LGBTQ students

Posted on: May 11th, 2018 by ldrucker

Robin Street, senior lecturer in journalism, has been recognized once again for her work to make the University of Mississippi more inclusive for all students.

The Allies Program recognized Street as the 2018 faculty recipient of the Vicki Mahan Ally of the Year Award. The award was created in 2015 to recognize the work of Vicki Mahan, who was retiring from the university. She created and ran the Allies Program for more than a decade.

The award recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make the university a welcoming, accepting, and inclusive place for LGBTQ students, faculty and staff.

Street, who organized and led a program last year called It Starts With MEek that promoted diversity and inclusivity, shares the award this year with Vice Chancellor Brandi Hephner Lebanc, the staff/administrator recipient.

Street is pictured with Kevin Cozart, operations coordinator, for the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies.

State Human Rights Campaign director speaks to public relations classes

Posted on: November 22nd, 2017 by ldrucker

Rob Hill, third from left, is the Mississippi Director for the Human Rights Campaign. This is the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.

Hill spoke to Robin Street’s Public Relations Case Studies class Nov. 16 about the HRC’s efforts to change attitudes about the LGBTQ public in Mississippi.

Pictured with Hill and Street are IMC students in the class, Amanda Hunt, far left, and Madison Stewart, far right. Photo by Kendrick Pittman.