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University of Iowa News Release

April 5, 2005

Activist To Speak On Gay Civil Rights April 14

Keith Boykin, one of the nation's leading commentators on race, sexuality and politics, will speak about "One More River to Cross: Are Gay Rights Civil Rights?" Thursday, April 14, at 7 p.m. in Shambaugh Auditorium at the University of Iowa Main Library. Boykin's talk and three accompanying screenings of the film "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin," are free and open to the public.

The lecture and film screenings are the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR) contribution to the Office of Residence Life's GAYLA Celebrations. Through a diverse array of activities, GAYLA provides an opportunity for all students, faculty and staff to learn about, discuss and reflect upon the contributions of gay and lesbian people to a common cultural and political heritage as Americans and as citizens of the world.

A former White House aide to President Clinton, Boykin is also a New York Times bestselling author, lawyer, educator and activist. As special assistant to Clinton, Boykin served as a key liaison between the White House and the African-American and gay media. As the highest-ranking openly gay person in any presidential administration, Boykin helped organize and participated in the nation's first meeting between gay and lesbian leaders and a U.S. president. He later served for two and a half years as the executive director of the National Black and Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, a nationwide nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower the black LBGT community.

"This presentation will examine the common as well as the divergent interests of gay and African-American communities, and will help to historicize the relationship between gay and African-American struggles for equality in American society," said Amy Weismann, UICHR deputy director. "Keith teaches that equality means more than removing barriers to participation in society but also creating and supporting opportunities for participation. He challenges each of us to face our own prejudices and actions and to recognize their impact on community life."

Weismann added that at the age of 35, Boykin is a dynamic and compelling young voice for change and represents new leadership for all concerned with social justice. He is currently on a promotional tour for his new book, "Beyond the Down Low: Black and Gay in America."

The screening of the film "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin" will continue now through April 12, with three more special screenings and discussions on the following dates:

* Tuesday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library

* Tuesday, April 5, at 8:30 p.m. at Currier Residence Hall

* Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at Shambaugh Auditorium

"Brother Outsider" is about Bayard Rustin, a prominent civil rights activist and an openly gay African American man. Rustin was a driving force behind the adoption of nonviolent civil disobedience strategies by civil rights movement leaders and activists, including Martin Luther King Jr., and was a central organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.

In keeping with this year's GAYLA theme "gay pioneers," the film screenings and Boykin's lecture will celebrate individuals who have contributed to the ongoing struggles of gay and lesbian people fro full participation and equality in their respective communities and in society generally.

"These events in particular will educate the UI and broader statewide community about the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from historical understandings of civil rights in the United States, as well as promote dialogue about current and common struggles of marginalized communities to create a more inclusive society," Weismann said.

The lecture and film screenings are sponsored by the UICHR, PrideNet, the Iowa Coalition for Human Rights and the Black Law Student Association, the Women's Resource and Action Center, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Faculty and Staff Association, the UI School of Social Work, the UI Department of American Studies, the Associated Residence Halls, the UI Council on the Status of Latino Affairs and several additional campus organizations.

For more information or special accommodations to attend any of the film screenings or the lecture, contact Liz Crooks, UICHR, 319-335-3900,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: UICHR, 319-335-3900,