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To kick off Oakland University’s Pride Month, the inaugural Tim Larrabee Memorial Lecture will feature LGBTQ activist, civil rights hero and author Cleve Jones on Monday, March 9.Pride Month at OU grew out of Pride Week several years ago and includes a wide variety of activities from lectures to social events to film screenings, all of which are free and open to the public. Grace Wojcik is coordinator for the Gender and Sexuality Department at OU, which oversees Pride Month, and she’s particularly excited to bring Jones to the university.
“He has been involved for so long and he’s remained involved, and we don’t, unfortunately, have a lot … of elders to look to because of things like the AIDS crisis,” Wojcik said. “And so I think it’s a really big deal that he can still share his experiences in organizing and activism. Of course, he worked alongside Harvey Milk, another iconic figure of our community. He has such wide-ranging experience in activism that I think he has a really powerful message for students to take away.”
To those who may not know Jones by name, many know his work, as the founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt or as the author of When We Rise, a four-decade memoir of the LGBTQ community in the United States which was later made into a television miniseries.
As a civil rights icon, Jones speaks for all who struggle for equality and fair treatment.
“He’s been involved in the movement for decades and I think having him as our opening speaker for the Tim Larrabee Memorial Lecture is such a big deal,” Wojcik said. “I kind of joked that, if we could get him to come to campus, I really don’t know where I could go from here.”
This is the first of what Wojcik says will be many lectures to honor the memory of Tim Larrabee.
“A lot of folks in the community probably do know of Tim,” Wojcik said. “He was really involved on our campus [and] with the Ferndale community. He started the SOGI initiative on campus, which started out as a conference for sexual orientation/gender identity issues in education. He was really passionate about making all classrooms more inclusive of the community and creating spaces for the community in general.
“He did a great deal of work on our campus moving forward in terms of [enacting] different policies, such as our antidiscrimination policy. He was one of the folks that founded the LGBTQIA employee resource group on campus. And he was just such a passionate advocate, so I’m really excited to bring someone I think he would’ve really enjoyed on campus.”
Pride Month 2020 Opening Ceremony featuring the Inaugural Tim Larrabee Memorial Lecture
Monday, March 9, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Oakland Center, Founders Ballroom C
318 Meadow Brook Road, Rochester 48309
Full schedule of Pride Month activities at OU: https://oakland.edu/gsc/pride-month/
All events are free and open to the public