On March 23, Purchase College, SUNY will welcome more than 500 LGBTQ middle and high school students, educators, and allies when it co-sponsors PrideWorks, a day-long conference devoted to educating, inspiring, and supporting attendees. The event will include more than 35 workshops and informational sessions about LGBTQ issues, teaching participants important leadership skills needed to advocate for themselves and their students.
This year’s Keynote Speaker is former NFL player Wade Davis, who came out publically in 2012, nine years after his football career ended. In 2014, he became the NFL’s first diversity and inclusion consultant, focused on ensuring that all LGBT individuals in the league have a safe and affirming space. He currently heads the You Can Play Project, which is dedicated to ending discrimination, sexism, and homophobia in sports. Davis will speak at 9 a.m. in the physical education building.
Stephanie McCaine, the Director of Admissions at Purchase College said, “We are happy to partner with PrideWorks on this important event. We look forward to welcoming the students and their family and friends for a day of learning and growing. Purchase prides itself on its inclusive environment and we hope the students know that they are valued here.”
David Diamond, who has organized the event for PrideWorks, said, “We are thrilled to be at Purchase this year for our annual conference. Purchase is the perfect place for our attendees who describe their experience at PrideWorks as life-changing.”
Attendees can choose from topics geared for students such as choosing the right college for them, and programs for advisors and parents such as how to help teens navigate their relationships. Workshops on LGBTQ history and culture and self-care are available for all attendees.
Drawing from the lower Hudson Valley, the Tri-State area, and beyond, the conference serves students from more than 70 middle and high schools and 10 colleges and universities. Approximately 70% of attendees are students and 30% are adults. About 20% of the students identify as LGBTQ. Adults include teachers, psychologists, social workers, Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Advisors, youth care workers, parents or guardians of LGBTQ youth, among others. About 40% of adults identify as part of the LGBTQ community.
PrideWorks, Inc. was organized in 2013 and grew out of a conference begun in 1999. The organization produces this conference, as well as sponsors or co-sponsors other events, such as Gay Prom in partnership with other areas agencies.
PrideWorks’s mission is to inform communities about the realities of growing up gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and to inspire them to respect and support LGBTQ people and to advocate for positive change. www.prideworksforyouth.org.
About Purchase College–SUNY
Purchase College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) network of 64 universities and colleges, was founded in 1967 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. His aspiration for Purchase was to create a dynamic campus that combined conservatory training in the visual and performing arts with programs in the liberal arts and sciences, in order to inspire an appreciation for both intellectual and artistic talents in all students. Today, Purchase College–SUNY is a community of students, faculty, and friends where open-minded engagement with the creative process leads to a lifetime of intellectual growth and professional opportunity. For more information about the College, visit www.purchase.edu.