As my GALA Co-Chair term comes to an end, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some of GALA’s highlights from the past two years. I am most proud of GALA’s advocacy work. During the 2015-2016 academic year we encouraged Emory President James Wagner to stand up against the Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a bill that was eventually defeated in the Georgia General Assembly. During the spring and summer of 2016, GALA communicated directly with Dr. Ajay Nair, Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life, and his staff to ensure that the Office of LGBT Life would continue to exist and receive adequate funding after the reorganization of Campus Life. These are just two advocacy initiatives in which we have engaged during the past two years, and they stand on a strong foundation of advocacy work that GALA has spearheaded for almost a decade. We would love for you to join us as we continue to fight for LGBTQ+ rights at Emory and beyond.
Another highlight of these past two years has been witnessing how GALA’s efforts directly benefit current Emory students. Our GALA Leadership Award recognizes student leaders who are working to positively impact LGBTQ+ communities at Emory. In addition to honoring these students, the award provides financial assistance that helps students continue to focus their efforts on supporting LGBTQ+ communities. There are also several other funds that were started by Emory alumni and that provide professional development opportunities for LGBTQ+ students and allies, such as the Dr. Daniel D. Adame Leadership Fund and the J. Michael Aycock Leadership Development Fund (learn more at http://www.lgbt.emory.edu/resources/leadership_funding/index.html). These opportunities were not available when I was an Emory student, and I am grateful that Emory alumni continue to support LGBTQ+ students.’
The future of GALA is bright. There are many GALA staples that Emory alumni look forward to every year: the Blue Jean Brunch, our Emory Cares Day Project, our spring theater outing, and our summer and winter socials. In addition to these events, we are always looking to organize new and exciting opportunities for alumni to gather and support each other. Please join us at our next Steering Committee meeting and share your ideas! We would love to hear from you. Our next meeting is on June 13, 2017 at the Miller Ward Alumni House. A light dinner is served at 6pm, and the meeting starts at 6:30pm. We hope to see you soon!
Emory College ‘09
Co-Chair, GALA: Emory LGBT+ Alumni