Monday, September 11, 2017

Students Succeed When Diversity is Valued - HUFFINGTONPOST

by Jorge Valencia
Originally published: September 7, 2017

Students around the country are returning to school, a time frequently marked by both excitement and anxiety. Unfortunately, this fall will be a difficult one for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students. Right now, the LGBTQ community is under attack from those who want to roll back important rights and protections we have fought hard to attain on campuses and in the workplace. Many in power believe it is politically expedient to ignore differing opinions and exclude those with varied experiences from the policy making process.

For LGBTQ students, this rebuffing of diverse voices and lack of diverse representation in leadership sends the message that society does not value them, or what they can contribute. As these students begin the academic year, it is imperative that we help them push back against this toxic and deeply harmful message. Thankfully, Point Foundation - the nation’s leading scholarship fund for LGBTQ students, where I serve as Executive Director - is dedicated to supporting LGBTQ students who are meeting these challenges head-on, and finding strength in their intersecting identities.

We would do well to look to these young leaders to model their values and approach to a more open, diverse and welcoming culture that protects civil rights and the rights of the most vulnerable. For this reason, I am proud to say that the 52 students we awarded scholarships to this year are also the most diverse group in the Foundation’s history.