A Message from President Frederick: Commemorating Pride Month 2023

Howard student leaders and administrators celebrating Pride Month in Blackburn Student Center.

[Published: June 7, 2023 | president.howard.edu]

Dear Howard University Community,

Dating back to our University’s chartering, humanity has been at the core of what Howard strives to be: a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our students, faculty, and staff. In many of my interactions on and off campus, I implore that we amplify each other’s humanity.

While we have undoubtedly come very far as a society and within our community, blind spots persist, but we are determined to identify and correct them, for both our individual and institutional growth.

Our historical roots as an HBCU underscore the importance of recognizing and valuing diverse perspectives and identities equally, yet we concentrated on viewpoints and behaviors of certain groups above others. In a space that has been historically heteronormative, we have the responsibility and the privilege to reimagine the future of our University, one that affirms a true commitment to equity and social justice, where every person can live happily and healthily and unapologetically take pride in who they are. It is a mission I have personally prioritized as Howard’s president.

From raising the pride flag at the Blackburn University Center to launching the Intercultural Affairs and LGBTQ+ Resource Center, the University has made significant strides in supporting our queer community, but we cannot allow complacency to convince us our work is complete. As an institution, we have a rich history of being the vanguard on matters of civil and human rights, setting the standard that so many others have followed. Unfortunately, we fell short of our own expectations on this front, and I commend our LGBTQ+ community for holding us accountable and demanding better from our collective home throughout the years. I am excited to watch how these initiatives foster a much healthier campus, where inclusivity is truly embedded in the fabric of everything we do.

This Pride Month, I want to celebrate our LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff over the years who have faced untold prejudice and bigotry, all for embracing their truest selves. Together, we can create an inclusive society that values and respects the dignity of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As renewed attacks on LGBTQ+ rights emerge nationwide, we must remain firm in our allyship and unapologetic that Howard University is and will forever be a champion of the LGBTQ+ community.

Excellence in Truth in Service,

Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA
Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery


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