March is Women’s History Month. This year, Campus Pride is celebrating the women on our Board of Directors.
The Campus Pride Board of Directors is made of individuals who wholeheartedly believe in the mission and purpose of the organization and its support of LGBTQ youth. Campus Pride intern Laryn Jackson interviewed members Swapna Velichety, Dr. Mecca Marsh and Whitney Hill to highlight who they are and the importance of their work.
Dr. Mecca Marsh, Campus Pride Board of Directors
Campus Pride Board Member Dr. Mecca Marsh has made it her life’s mission to improve the lives of young queer people of color. Growing up she always felt that she didn’t completely fit in in Black or LGBTQ spaces. She wants to make sure another person of color never feels how she did.
As a second-generation higher education student and daughter of academics, education has always been important to Marsh. She received her bachelor’s degree from Le Moyne College, her master’s degree in college student personnel administration from James Madison University and her doctorate in educational administration and supervision from Virginia State University.
Marsh first heard about Campus Pride through Michael D. Sgro, a previous board member and her former resident advisor at Le Moyne College. She was inspired by how he lived his life as an out gay man and wanted the same life for herself.
Working to inspire Black LGBTQ youth
As a Campus Pride board member, Marsh hopes to impact the lives of young queer people of color. In many LGBTQ organizations, there is a lack of representation of people of color. Marsh thinks that Black and brown queer people need to have a bigger voice in the LGBTQ community, and she wants to be a part of that voice.
Marsh currently serves as the Director of Housing Operations for Capstone on Campus Management at Norfolk State University in Norfolk Virginia. She worked at primarily white academic institutions for 14 years before making the switch to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). She wanted to work somewhere where she didn’t have to be concerned with being the only Black person. She described her experience before working at an HBCU as multiple layers of tiredness as a Black gay woman.
However, she celebrates being a Black queer woman proudly so that young people can see that there is life later on and that there is life after coming out. People would always tell Marsh what she couldn’t do or how difficult life may be but to her, there is a celebration in being who she is.
What Women’s History Month means to Marsh
“I’m excited every day that I get to be this Black queer woman. We need to stop putting Black History Month and Women’s History Month in one month. I’m both of those things every day. Why do I only get two months to celebrate it?” asks Marsh.
Marsh’s advice to young people of color is to not rush the process of growing up. She says that change will come so they must be ready when it does.
“When my time comes I want to be able to say that I used the gifts that God gave to me in the time I was on earth. I hope that I enjoyed life and I impacted the lives of young people positively. I truly believe that I was put on earth to improve the lives of young people. When I’m laid to rest, I want to be surrounded by folks who were positively impacted by my work,” says Marsh.
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ABOUT CAMPUS PRIDE
Celebrating its 20th anniversary year in 2021, Campus Pride is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to building future leaders and creating safer, more inclusive communities for LGBTQ people and allies at colleges and universities. Founded in 2001 by nationally-recognized LGBTQ civil rights leader and campus pioneer Shane L. Windmeyer, Campus Pride offers a wide variety of programs and resources for students and prospective students, including the Campus Pride Index, HBCU Clearinghouse, Trans Policy Clearinghouse, Lambda 10, Stop the Hate and Safe Space trainings, and the annual Camp Pride leadership camp. www.campuspride.org.