UIS students inducted into Lamba Pi Eta, the national communications
honor society, watch as their adviser Mike Searcy addresses the audience
of their family, friends, and faculty.
LPH President Morgan Meade and Vice President Stevi Johnson greet
Keirsten Lynch as she is inducted into the organization
presents black and gay film series
Janee Mitchell - Feature Writer
Students Against Sexual Stereotypes
and Inequality recently sponsored a Black and Gay film series during the
month of February.
Pat Langley, SASSI advisor, said the film series provides an opportunity
for students to “find out what they didn’t know about, such
as Bayard Rustin.”
SASSI showed “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin”
on Thursday in honor of Black History Month. Bayard Rustin was a civil
rights activist and among other accomplishments he was instrumental in
the organization of the March on Washington. Langley said not everyone
knows about Rustin’s role in the March on Washington or the peace
movement. Outside of being a well-accomplished activist, Rustin was a
black gay male, what Langley calls a racial and sexual minority.
Langley said it is important to notice the difference between the struggles
of race, gender inequality and sex discrimination. She said the issues
are not separate and that some similarities exist. There are African American
members of SASSI and Langley said they are able to see that a gay or lesbian
African American can be successful.
The Black and Gay Film Series began with “Black is…Black Ain’t”
on Feb. 10, examining “racism, sexism and homophobia within the
black community,” said a press release on the event. SASSI closed
out the film series with the life stories of two influential African Americans,
Rustin and Springfield native Ruth Ellis, who SASSI has listed as the
“oldest ‘out’ African American.”
All the films addressed the struggles of gay and lesbian African Americans.
Some of the films were about African American men who faced a double discrimination
for their race and sexual preference. There were also films presented
about African American females who faced a triple discrimination for being
African American, lesbian and female.
SASSI is a 20-year-old organization. It has developed through many presidents,
names and forms. This marks the first year SASSI presented a film series
addressing gay African Americans. The club has previously shown films
for October’s Gay History Month, but Black History Month films are
a new addition.
Langley said films about gay or lesbian African Americans are rarely shown
or even found. The three films shown during the film series were copies
from the UIS library. Langley said SASSI hopes to continue its tradition
of the black and gay film series for next year. She also said the films
of gay and lesbian African Americans are hard to come by but she is sure
they could find some.