The 19th Annual Pancake Breakfast honors those individuals who have contributed to making positive changes in the UNH community through their community activism. The Co-Chairs of the GLBT Commission opened the celebration as one that signifies the progress made toward equity and inclusion. President Mark Huddleston delivered the University Welcome and presented the Kidder Awards to those who foster understanding and who have work towards creating more opportunities for those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning. Three winners took the stage. Robin Hackett, professor of English and Queer Studies, is a former member of the GLBT Commission and has taught courses such as Lesbian and Gay Writing and LGBT-Q Literature where she has combined her focus on British Literature with the field of Queer Studies. She was a leader in establishing the Queer Studies minor.
Michael J. Staley is a member of the Stonewall Grads and also a member of the GLBT Commission. He is doing graduate study research on sexual decision-making as it applies to HIV prevention campaigns. He recently assisted in delivering a survey assessing the climate for LGBTQ students at UNH. He organized “Walk Because Words Matter” to recognize the loss of several young people, both gay and perceived as gay, due to suicides based on hateful actions and words against them.
David Jacobsen has worked on campaigns against hate crimes, cyber-bullying, LGBT suicides and pornography. He has been involved with Safe Zones, the Ally Dinner for National Coming Out Week, and the candlelight vigil for LGBTQ youth.
KUNH Alliance leadership members Josh Swanson and Kelsey Myers delivered the Pink Triangle Awards honoring those who create more equity and visibility for the GLBTQ+ community. Winners from across campus were sighted for their work. WildActs Social Change Theater Troupe uses performance to demonstrate real-life issues that people may have a hard time addressing. It started as a Peer Education Team and is now under the supervision of David Kay and Michele Holt-Shannon. WildActs shows strong social activist passions and creates a safe space where inclusion and acceptance is expected. Bie Aweh is a strong believer regarding equity and equality. Strengthened by her experience, she organized a group of UNH students to attend a D.C. conference on feminism and is now working with Black communities and religious traditions to create new views of equity and inclusion. Hannah Ovaska has been a strong advocate on Safe Zones, SAGE, the Alliance, Queer Campus, the Womyn’s Club and the NH Marriage Equality. She has been an active planner for Gender Identities Awareness Week where she teamed up with Dr. Joelle Ryan in bringing films and speakers to campus and community members. Her current work involves bringing back the New Hampshire Transgender Conference in hopes of promoting inclusion of different trans identities and gender expressions. Ellen Semran has been an active member of the UNH community helping hundreds of students, faculty and staff members. She rejuvenated the Safe Zones Training Program on campus and has been involved in all the LGBTQ events on campus. She has given her time to the MLK Leadership Summit and the Domestic Partner Benefits policy change dialogue. She works towards addressing privilege in systems and asking the community to recognize this and understand the value of diversity. Pamela Scott is a member of the GLBT Commission, a hall director and a volunteer at Seacoast Outright which is in keynote speaker Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation delivered, “The Role of Media Advocacy in LGBT Equality”. Barrios shared his experience in building public support by promoting fair and accurate LGBT images in news, entertainment and social media.
the NH Seacoast area and supports gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth. She is a member of the President’s Commission on the Status of GLBT Issues and plays a supporting role in programs.
Keynote speaker Romaine Patterson, Radio Personality for XM Radio and Gay Rights Activist, told her audience, “My path in life stems from a tragic event, which took place while I was still in college.” Patterson was inspired to become an advocate for gay rights after an anti-gay hate crime resulted in the death of her friend and classmate Matthew Shepard in 1998.
Carina Self, Women’s Studies faculty, delivered the “Call to Action” saying, “It is vital that we do not let individual differences divide us into hateful groups.” She referenced Michele Holt-Shannon’s “cause exhaustion,” reminding listeners that the community is under pressure now, which may be considered an opportunity to learn and to improve ourselves. She said, “Help people to meet one another and to recognize who those people are and what they can contribute.”