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Statement on August 3 LGBTQ+ Archives Speaker Event

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On Wednesday, August 3, we, the project directors of UL Lafayette’s LGBTQ+ Archives Project, abruptly ended our virtual event, “Queering the Collection: LGBTQ+ Archives Lecture Series, Part 2”, due to a barrage of anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Black language littering the chat box and Q&A forum. On the recommendation of the Office of Campus Diversity, we have sent the recording and reports of the event to University Police, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, and the Office of the Dean of Students. We are saddened, angered, disappointed, and embarrassed that what promised to be an incredible learning experience and exchange of ideas was hijacked by those intent on violent disruption. This kind of behavior is hateful, abhorrent, and unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. It is moments like these that prove why our work is important and why we will not be deterred in having open discussions on diverse topics.

The LGBTQ+ Archives Project is a grant-funded project in collaboration with UL Lafayette Dupré Library’s Special Collections and the Guilbeau Center for Public History. Through funding and support from the American Library Association and National Endowment for the Humanities, we are bolstering the University’s collection of materials to reflect and document the region’s LGBTQ+ community. This underrepresented community is vital to the region’s history and development, and it is our obligation as historians and archivists to help preserve this history.

Part of this project involves a speaker series, which includes librarians, archivists, and museum curators talking about their work archiving and documenting LGBTQ+ history. Bridgett Johnson-Pride, our invited speaker, is a national award-winning librarian, archivist, and artist whose scholarship and teaching are highly celebrated nationwide. Her significant contributions to the fields of Black Studies and Queer Studies, and her extensive record of inspiring learners in the library and archives field promised a phenomenal educational opportunity for our community. As the former reference librarian for the Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Ms. Johnson-Pride created many different research guides celebrating Black LGBTQ+ history; her expertise is a valuable contribution to our project.

We will continue this speaker series and are working with Ms. Johnson-Pride to reschedule this event.

We deeply apologize to Ms. Johnson-Pride and the participants who genuinely wished to attend this lecture. We are working with the Office of Distance Learning to do everything possible, including putting more safety precautions in place, to prevent a future virtual attack and ensure a productive and valuable educational experience.

We thank the support of the Office of Campus Diversity, our LGBTQ+ Archives Advisory Board, the Department of History, the Office of Distance Learning, the Gender and Sexuality Studies program, the College of Liberal Arts and University Libraries.

—Zachary Stein, MSLIS
—Marissa Petrou, Ph.D.

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