The University of New Hampshire’s 27th annual LGBTQ+ & Ally Pancake Breakfast served to provide guests with plentiful servings of classic breakfast foods and knowledge about their local LGBTQ+ communities in the Memorial Union Granite State Room this past Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
The event was co-sponsored by the Bill Kidder Fund, Trans UNH, Liberty Mutual, Community, Equity, and Diversity Office and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA).
The event featured keynote speaker Dr. Jonathan P. Higgins, a speaker, educator and thought leader who uses his voice to shine a light on issues affecting both LGBTQ+ and people-of-color communities. From speaking at universities like UCLA and Kansas State, to delivering his own TEDx talk on how to unlearn fear and develop personal power and being nominated by the National Black Justice Coalition as one of the “Top 100 Black LGBTQ People to Watch” in 2015, Higgins has a history of spreading his message nationwide. Higgins’ discussion at the pancake breakfast focused on navigating the intersectional experiences of QTPOC.
In addition to his keynote presentation at the Pancake Breakfast, Dr. Higgins spoke in Hamilton Smith Hall at the “Self Care for Activists” workshop hosted by the office of Community, Equity and Diversity, where he discussed how one maintains wellness and avoids burning out, a common occurrence amongst active activists.
Office of Community, Equity and Diversity educational program coordinator Sylvia Foster explained to The New Hampshire how the office works to encourage campus and community members alike to practice self-reflection and collaboration in order to foster a flourishing environment for everyone.
“This workshop reminded people to take care of themselves in the process of trying to heal the wrongs created by systemic and structural oppressions,” Foster said.
The UNH Gender and Women’s Studies Department offers opportunities, with courses such as “Gender, Power and Privilege” that provide students with information regarding the possibility of working for a cause.
Fighting for change requires hard work and the workshop urged students to check in with themselves.
“You can’t save the world if you aren’t in it,” Higgins said.
“Dr. Higgins spoke of maintaining wellness, first, by advising the activists among us to recognize their specific place in building a fair and just world – establish exactly what they want to accomplish,” Foster said. “He also asked his audience to remember what keeps them sustained and to remember their personal capacity for work. In other words, he asked them to know when they need to stop, rest and take care of themselves.”
Monica Chui, Interim Associate Vice President for Community, Equity and Diversity, spoke on the history of the event, which dates back 27 years.
“The goal is to celebrate progress on campus for the inclusion of LGBTQIAP+ students and to form a sense of community, while also recognizing the challenges to come,” Jack Lapierre, the president of Trans UNH, a group for transgender students, faculty, staff and community members, said. He added that the group provides “support and resources to those in need of it and emphasize a strong sense of community within our membership.”
Additionally, the Kidder Awards were distributed at the event to exceptional student leaders and faculty members who, through their scholarship, leadership, or outstanding efforts, showed initiative in fostering a greater understanding of inclusion of diversity for sexual LGBTQIAP+ students at UNH.
The Kidder Fund Awards, named after William “Bill” Kidder class of ’67, award $1,000 in scholarship to students, $1,000 in funding for professional development for staff and faculty, as well as the Pink Triangle Certificates for groups and organizations.
Recipient of the Pink Triangle Certificate, junior linguistics major Tom Carlson, explained that they were awarded due to their collaborative work with the Language, Literature and Cultures department in presenting a public discussion regarding non-binary pronouns in languages taught at UNH.
“It’s wonderful, there were so many great awards for so many deserving students who all worked on this campus very hard,” Carlson said. “It was wonderful to see recognition for their hard work.”