NEW ALBANY, IN (January 7, 2016) – The Common Experience at IU Southeast and the IU Southeast Gay-Straight Alliance will host nationally renowned LGBT and women’s rights advocate, speaker, and author Rep. Brian Sims for its program “Decision Making & Diversity – Getting Things Done and Bringing People with You” on Monday, February 15, 2016 from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Paul W. Ogle Cultural and Community Center on the IU Southeast campus. Admission is free, and all members of the community are invited to attend.
Brian Sims was recently included in The Advocate’s annual list of 40 “exemplary” LGBT people who are fighting important battles for social justice. He has been called “Philly’s brain’s and brawn with a cause” in his home state of Pennsylvania, where he is an accomplished legislator (and the general assembly’s first out LGBT member) and a widely respected policy and civil rights attorney. Sims is a former student-athlete who broke barriers by bravely coming out, becoming the first openly gay captain in NCAA history. He has traveled across Japan with U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy speaking on the importance of human rights. He is a published writer who regularly contributes to The HRC Backstory, The Advocate, The Legal Intelligencer, and numerous other publications. Sims has been a guest speaker for corporations such as Microsoft and Comcast and has been chosen as the IU Southeast Common Experience’s spring keynote speaker.
“Rep. Brian Sims embraces the reality that we live in a global society and owe it to ourselves and to one another to learn how to positively engage with difference and diversity. Through his advocacy work, Rep. Sims illustrates the importance of embracing and fostering equity and inclusivity to create long-lasting, positive change in our social institutions and in our communities,” says Dr. Veronica Media, 2015-2016 Common Experience Co-Director.
IU Southeast Chancellor Dr. Ray Wallace is proud that diversity advocacy is an integral part of the IU Southeast strategic plan, and hopes the event will open “hearts, eyes, ears, and [minds]….We grow and evolve…through seeing equality and representation as a goal and human right for everybody,” says Wallace. Sims comes to Kentuckiana soon after Louisville’s perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2015 equality index, which measures “laws and services that promote the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.” His visit will surely be an important and exciting one for the local community and IU Southeast.