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In his keynote address for GLBTA Pride Center's annual Rainbow Luncheon, Keith Boykin, activist and editor of The Daily Voice, discussed his life, gay rights issues and ways to initiate change.
Mr. Boykin said all societal issues, such as homophobia, racism and sexism, are rooted in fear, which teaches people to hate and oppress certain populations and hide their own identities.
"We live in a world where fear governs so much of our actions, so much of our behavior, so much of who we are and who we feel free to be," he said in his talk, "One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America."
People frequently overcome that fear, he said, through one-on-one interactions -- by loving, conversing and debating with one another. "Change happens on a microscopic level every day, when we don't have the fear to just be who we are," he said.
The luncheon was held in the campus center's large ballroom.
Mr. Boykin talked about his time as a law student at Harvard University in the early 1990s, where he came out as a gay man and got involved in a diversity coalition that fought against discrimination on the university's campus. After they took Harvard to court for discrimination, and lost, the institution began to employ more women, homosexuals and people of color. Mr. Boykin has been an outspoken advocate for gay and civil rights since then.
"There is progress that's possible if we're willing to work for it and fight for it," he said. "It doesn't necessarily happen immediately, but it does happen."
Mr. Boykin served in the White House as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton. He is a CNBC contributor, a BET TV host and a New York Times best-selling author of three books, One More River to Cross (1997), Respecting the Soul (1999), Beyond the Down Low (2004). For more information on Mr. Boykin click here.
In his welcome remarks, President Dana Mohler-Faria stressed the importance of BSU hosting the Rainbow Luncheon and other events that celebrate diversity. "One of the things that are important to us to have a community that is focused and built around respect and dignity, the opportunity to learn from each other and to embrace each other," he said.
Additionally, Dr. David Ostroth, vice president for student affairs, and student Lou Johnson were presented with the Rainbow Pride Awards for their outstanding contributions to the GLBT community. (Rob Matheson, '07, University Advancement; videos by Moakley TV Studio)
Keith Boykin's full talk.
President Dana Mohler-Faria's welcoming remarks.
The presentation of the Rainbow Pride Awards.