Leadership and Diversity Conference

[soundcloud url=”https://soundcloud.com/accent-editor/lgbtq-conference-mixdown-3″ comments=”true” auto_play=”false” color=”ff7700″ width=”100%” height=”81″]

Story and Photos by Ryan Fotenette-Mitchell

Thought provoking conversations took center stage at the Nov. 21 Leadership and Diversity Conference. Attendees at the Highland Campus event explored lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender issues.

Austin Community College Student Life staff member Angela Roberston discussed the main objective for conference.

“So today, our intent was to challenge students to learn to love and respect one another even when they disagree,” Robertson said.

A religious panel addressed LGBTQ issues in the context of faith and Biblical references. Michael Saenz, a student at ACC, said that we should consider a more modern approach than that laid out in the Bible.

“A lot of people are basing what they believe on what was written thousands of years ago. The views that were applied then don’t apply now,” Saenz said. “If someone loves someone else, it baffles me that its illegal for them to get married.”

Robertson talked about how she challenged students to make their own opinions and beliefs, as well as having respect for people with different beliefs than them.

“There were people that were challenged. There were people that were emotional,” Robertson said.  “And that’s kind of what has to happen. We have to get uncomfortable so that we can grow.”

ACC student Elizabeth Cognetti felt called into action by the event.

“I’ve always been empathetic towards people who struggle day by day.” Cognetti said. “It makes me want to be able to stand up and really do something about it.”

 ACC holds a Leadership and Diversity Conference every year. For more information visit the Student Life website.


GAY PRIDE –– By standers observe students during the LGBTQ summit. The summit was held at the ACC Highland Campus Nov. 21.
GETTING AQUAINTED –– Keynote speaker Clint-Micheal Reneau leads the first breakout session of the day which allowed students to share their thoughts on LGBTQ issues. Most students came from different campuses for the event.
PASSION AND POETRY — Joe Anderson of  The Mahogany project shares his story about being gay African-American man through poetry. Students sat and watched three live performances from the group.
RESPECT FOR ALL –– Jennifer Flowers, Student Life coordinator,  stands proudly in front of the Gay Pride flag. The flag was one of many banners to represent different groups.
COMING TOGETHER –– Students sit in the stairway to learn more about LGBTQ issues from keynote speaker Clint-Michael Reneau. Banners set around the stairway showed support for equality.