Barker: LGBTQ decision ‘was inclusion in action, still work to do’

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Barker: LGBTQ decision ‘was inclusion in action, still work to do’

Jake Piccini (center) dances with friends during the Rainbow Ball on Oct. 4 in the Great Hall of the Kauffman Residential Center. The LGBTQA-friendly event is a new homecoming tradition at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Troy Fedderson | University Communication
Students celebrate during the Rainbow Ball, a dance for the university's LGBTQA+ community, in 2019.

Inspired by Pride Month and a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Marco Barker, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, reaffirmed the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s commitment to supporting and affirming individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and gender diverse.

The message, issued June 16, followed the Supreme Court decision that assured civil rights protections extended to LGTBQ employees. Barker also acknowledged that the decision was a positive step, but more work was needed to eliminate discrimination for the LGBTQA+ community.

“The Office of Diversity and Inclusion recognizes there is still work to do,” Barker said. “In midst of the continued protests and demonstrations, there are still occurrences where black lives and, only a few days ago, black trans lives Riah Milton in Ohio, and Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells in Pennsylvania, were victims of violence.”

To assist individuals impacted by these recent and any future traumatic incidents, Barker said he plans for a number of focused steps in the coming weeks. They include:

  • Support collaboration with Counseling and Psychological Services to offer opportunities to connect and heal, while also helping the broader campus community better understand the causes and impact of racialized trauma;

  • Remain connected with organizations and departments like Black Student Union, African and African American Studies, Institute for Ethnic Studies, African American Leadership Caucus, Commission on the Status of People of Color and faculty;

  • Ensure that the Office of Diversity and Inclusion can support colleges, departments and units in developing/implementing strategies for applying racial equity principles; and

  • Work with Chancellor Ronnie Green, colleagues and governance groups to better address anti-racism and racial equity practices.

Barker’s entire message is available for review online.

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