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    One of the original pieces of artwork created for NCCU's LGBTA Center. Photo by Kaylee Sciacca/Echo co-editor-in-chief.

For NCCU’s LGBTA Resource Center, Pride Week should be every week

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Pride is a very accurate word to describe the LGBTA community: members of it are proud of who they are and despite the negativity they may face, this community has never afraid to express who they are regardless of what others may think.

This year, the week of Feb. 26 to Mar. 2 was set aside for members of that community at N.C. Central University to come together and celebrate each other as individuals who, like anybody else, are just trying to make the world a better place.

Activities hosted in the LGBTA Resource Center and game room on the bottom floor of the student union included a lipsync battle on Monday and watching the 2013 documentary “The New Black” on Tuesday.

The week’s festivities came to an end with “Welcome Wednesday: Black Queer History Jeopardy” where Teams Orange and Banana to see which team knew the most about black history related to the LGBT+ community.

Influential figures including Josephine Baker, Sheryl Swoopes, Grace Jones and Alice Walker were mentioned during the game for their contributions to the community and society as a whole.

As the game neared the end with a close score, Team Banana came through with a last-second question steal to win.

Established on Apr. 9, 2013 by NCCU Department of Research, Evaluation and Planning assessment director Tia M. Doxey, the LGBTA Resource Center has made huge strides in bringing awareness about LGBT+ issues to campus.

History was made in November 2016 when the opening of its current location near Student Services made NCCU the second HBCU in the country — and the first at an HBCU in North Carolina — to have a dedicated LGBTA center on campus. It is also the first and only center to be open with a full staff.

Many regular attendees are optimistic, feeling that the specialized space will see more traffic in the near future because of its purpose.

“It will allow [visitors] to have a sense of community here and a place to go where they have people who are like-minded and can identify with,” freshman Messiah Moore explained.

Jennifer Williams, who was named coordinator in 2016, is also happy with the current success of the resource center, but wants people to understand that the center is open to everybody and that the LGBT+ community is no different than any other group.

“You have to make the step to educate yourself and get to know people,” said Williams. “We talk about Eagle Excellence… you have to be real about it and you need to expose yourself to different people. That’s the whole point of college.”

Written on one of the walls in the center is a quote from bisexual black writer Alice Walker that reads “The most common way people give up their power is by think they don’t have any.”

This simple statement resonates in the hearts and minds of every member and visitor enters the LGBTA Resource Center and reminds us all that no matter our race, beliefs or sexual orientation, we all have the power to make a change in this world — together.

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