Celebrate and Support a Fair Kentucky

Lori Allen/The News In support of inclusive public policies and an increasingly diverse society, Alliance, along with LGBT Programming, held the 7th annual Celebrate and Support a Fair Kentucky Saturday. Alliance also took the opportunity to recognize President Randy Dunn as this year’s Jane Etheridge Ally of the Year.

Lori Allen/The News
In support of inclusive public policies and an increasingly diverse society, Alliance, along with LGBT Programming, held the 7th annual Celebrate and Support a Fair Kentucky Saturday. Alliance also took the opportunity to recognize President Randy Dunn as this year’s Jane Etheridge Ally of the Year.

In support of inclusive public policies and an increasingly diverse society, Alliance, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender campus group, along with LGBT Programming, held the event, Celebrate and Support a Fair Kentucky.  Approximately 100 people attended the fundraiser on Saturday in support of the LGBT community.

Jody Cofer, LGBT program coordinator, said this was the seventh year Alliance has held the event and like previous years, it was a success.

This year’s event raised $5,367, which is approximately $300 more than last year.  These    funds go into an account that Murray State’s LGBT Programming has with the MSU Foundation.  It will be used for programming and activities for the 2013-2014 academic year.

“Celebrate serves many purposes,” Cofer said. “Mainly to give the LGBT and ally community in this area an opportunity to come together and do just what the name suggests—celebrate our many accomplishments, while also serving to raise funds to support future activities of Murray State’s LGBT Programming.”

Other benefactors include Equality Federation and Kentucky Fairness Alliance which seeks to advocate equality for LGBT people through leadership development, public education and by encouraging participation in the democratic process.

“To-date, a majority of successes made in this area have been at the local and state level, not federally” Cofer said. “That is why it is critical that efforts such as this event serve to benefit the organizations that are leading and growing the capacity for future success.”To-date, a majority of successes that have been made in this area have been at the local and state level – not federally. That is why it is critical that efforts such as this event serve to benefit the organizations that are leading and growing the capacity for future success. To-date, a majority of successes that have been made in this area have been at the local and state level – not federally. That is why it is critical that efforts such as this event serve to benefit the organizations that are leading and growing the capacity for future success.

In addition to a silent auction which featured items from all over western Kentucky, attendants heard from special guest Jeff Krehely from Washington D.C., who serves as vice president and chief foundation officer at the Human Rights Campaign.

The HRC is one of the largest LGBT advocacy and education organizations in the nation. Krehely outlined what sorts of activities are taking place in Washington surrounding the LGBT and ally community.

Alliance also uses the event as a platform to recognize a faculty or staff member as the Jane Etheridge Ally of the Year for going above and beyond in their support.

The annual award is the highest honor Alliance can bestow on an ally each year for going above and beyond to support the LGBT community. This year Alliance awarded it to Murray State president Randy Dunn.

To recognize president Dunn, Alliance president Michael Penner spoke on behalf of the organization’s officers, commending him on his support of the LGBT community at Murray State.

Penner said: “During his presidential tenure, Murray State has adopted an LGBT inclusive diversity plan with his support and guidance earning Murray State recognition across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He has used his position to advocate for a more inclusive campus, often referencing the importance of supporting the LGBT community during speaking engagements addressing diversity. We would like to thank Dr. Dunn for his continued support of the LGBT community and give him this in recognition of our appreciation.”

Cofer said, beyond citing the work LGBT Programming, Alliance and the ally community at Murray State has made over the last several years, Dunn spoke more broadly about the continued role of higher education to be drivers of social innovation.

Story by Alex Berg, Staff writer.