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Pacific to Host Forum on Race, Religion and Sexuality: Forum part of Local Efforts to Combat HIV in Black Community

Apr 16, 2010

University of the Pacific will host “Toward Harmony: A Discussion on Race, Religion and Sexuality” on Sunday, April 25, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Pacific’s Janet Leigh Theatre on the Stockton campus.  The event brings together local leaders and Pacific faculty, staff and students to find common ground in the efforts to combat the alarmingly high rates of HIV/AIDS in the local African American community. The event is free and open to public. 

The forum, possibly the first of its kind in the Central Valley, will facilitate open dialogue about the intersections of religious faith and beliefs and the struggle for a community that can be inclusive of its diverse members.  In San Joaquin County, where African Americans comprise 7% of the county’s total population and 22% of the county’s cases of AIDS/HIV, and where the majority of the faith community supported Proposition 8, the ban against gay marriage in California, can faith and community leaders and LGBT advocates find common ground through dialogue? This forum seeks to provide an affirmative answer to that question.

The event’s keynote speaker is Sharon Groves, deputy director of the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a Washington, D.C.-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocacy group and political action committee.

In addition to a keynote address by a nationally-known expert, the event features statements by local community and faith leaders such as the Honorable Susan Eggman of the Stockton City Council; the Honorable Gloria Allen, Stockton Unified School District Trustee; Reverend Terri Miller of Valley Ministries MCC and the Reverend Elena Kelly; as well as a panel discussion with a distinguished group of panelists including  Brother Tommie Muhammad, Muslim community leader and Angel Picon, Latino community and labor activist. 

The event is co-sponsored by the Pride Pacific Alumni Club, Black Alumni Pacific Club, Pride Alliance and Black Student Union of Pacific, and the Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, Stonewall Democrats and the Human Rights Campaign.

For more information contact Lisa Cooper, assistant vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement, at 209.946.2361 or lcooper@pacific.edu.