One factor that first led me to join GALA two years ago was the breadth and diversity of the organization’s work. GALA is not a single-purpose group. In fact, its mission outlines 8 substantial commitments to Emory’s LGBT communities, including supporting students, offering networking opportunities for alumni, and engaging in LGBT advocacy at Emory and beyond.
Since our last newsletter, we’ve hosted a dinner for our LGBT graduates at the Office of LGBT Life’s Pride Awards, enjoyed our annual theater outing to Actors Express, participated in the inaugural Out in Business networking event with Goizueta students, and honored Nowmee Shehab, 16C, with the GALA Leadership Award.
At recent monthly meetings, GALA members have also turned their attention to critical advocacy issues on and off campus. Earlier this year, GALA wrote a letter to President Wagner in support of Freedom at Emory, a student group working to secure financial aid for undocumented students. We were thrilled to learn in April that President Wagner listened to the concerns of students and alumni and made the courageous decision to begin offering aid to undocumented students from Fall 2015 onwards.
Then, in March, the Emory Wheel published an op-ed by GALA concerning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, urging the larger Emory community to learn about and speak out against this discriminatory piece of legislation.
Engaging in advocacy has been a rewarding and galvanizing experience for many of our members, but I know that it’s not for everyone. Maybe you’re just looking to network with other LGBT alumni, gain writing and editing experience on our newsletter, hone your fundraising skills, or mentor a student. What’s amazing about GALA is that it offers all of these opportunities and more.
If you’ve been on the fence about joining (or rejoining!) us, I encourage you to reach out to me or any member of our Executive Committee with your questions or suggestions. I guarantee that you’ll receive a warm welcome and find something that fits your interests and your schedule.
Aby Parsons, 13G
Co-Chair, GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni