Morehead Pride to host Diversity & Inclusion Forum on Oct. 6

In collaboration with Morehead State University’s Eagle Diversity Education Center and the Camden-Carroll Library, Morehead Pride will host a Diversity & Inclusion Forum on Friday, October 6, 2017 at the Camden-Carroll Library from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Topics will focus on diversity within the LGBT community, health access, HIV/AIDS awareness and inclusion. Moderators include Christopher Blakely, minority retention coordinator and Cory Clark, minority academic services coordinator at Morehead State. A reception with light refreshments will be held at 3 p.m. and the forum will take place from 4-6 p.m. The reception and forum are free and open to the public.

Speakers include Ryan Sallans, a trans speaker, author, and diversity trainer, Mark Johnson, board member of Bluegrass Black Pride, Inc. and the PCSO (Pride Community Services Organization), and Jon Parker, executive director of AIDS Volunteers, Inc (AVOL).

Ryan Sallans

Ryan Sallans is a public speaker, diversity trainer, consultant, and author specializing in health care, campus inclusion and workplace issues impacting the transgender community, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community. Over the past fifteen years Ryan, a professionally trained sexuality educator, has conducted over a thousand presentation and training sessions to diverse audiences, including professionals, students, employees, and the general public. He is also the Lead Subject Matter Expert and script writer for e-learning courses used around the nation to train healthcare professionals and staff through Affiliate Risk Management Services, Inc and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Healthcare Equality Index (HEI).

After his appearance in the documentary Gender Rebel featured on MTV’s LOGO network in 2006, he began traveling to universities where he shares the story of his transition from female to male. His story is told with an intermixing of humor and intricate clinical details surrounding the transition process. Ryan has been interviewed twice on Larry King Live, Ricki: The New Ricki Lake Show, Trisha, NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook, and HuffPost Live and has made  his acting debut on the web series, Brothers. He has also been interviewed by numerous newspapers and magazines including The Advocate, USNews, BuzzFeed, The Chicago Bureau, International Business Times, Baltimore Gay Life, and The Huffington Post. Ryan’s memoir Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Love and Life is one of a few transgender books detailing the life and transition of a transgender man. Ryan attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he received a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology, Master of Arts in English, and a Master of Arts in educational psychology.

Mark Johnson

Mark A. Johnson has been a champion for HIV/AIDS, cultural diversity and health equity for 30 years. He used his positions at both local and state public health departments and at community-based organizations to create change, promote cultural competency, and influence policy to ensure all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential of health. Mark received a Masters of Science in social work from the University of Louisville and his Bachelors in social work from Morehead State University. He retired from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department in 2013. After a short break, he returned to the workforce and is currently a social worker for a senior apartment complex of the Lexington Housing Authority.

Mark has received Lexington Urban League’s first “Individual Champion of Diversity” award, the inaugural Lexington Fairness “Out for Diversity” award, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner’s Award for Meritorious Achievements for Outstanding efforts in Health Equity and Community Leadership, UK Social Work Department’s inaugural Unsung Hero: Champion for Social Change Award, AIDS Volunteers, Inc.’s Legacy Award and was inducted into the Lexington Fairness Hall of Fame. Mark has also been honored for his exercise classes and work with seniors and arthritis.

Mark is currently the secretary for Bluegrass Black Pride, Inc. and on the Board of the Pride Community Services Organization (PCSO).

He and his partner of 21 years, John Moses, were married on September 24, 2017. They reside in Lexington with their four-legged babies.

Jon Parker

Jon Parker serves as executive director of AVOL. AVOL has been on the front lines of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Lexington and Eastern Kentucky for more 25 years and their guiding principles state that “The most compassionate response to HIV/AIDS is to honor, to empower, and to support individuals and communities affected.” AVOL’s most recent effort in Eastern Kentucky is the Health Education Network Kentucky. Jon will discuss where we are as a community in regards to the disease and discuss recent efforts and advancements in combating HIV, Hepatitis C, and STIs and other services available through AVOL.

The Diversity & Inclusion Forum is sponsored by grants from JustFundKY and the Appalachian Community Fund.

The Camden-Carroll Library will be displaying two sections of the internationally celebrated AIDS Memorial Quilt from October 2 to October 8 in the Athena Room. The exhibit will be on display during the event. Visitors may attend this free display of The AIDS Memorial Quilt during regular business hours. This exhibit is made possible by The Names Project Foundation. Established in 1987, The NAMES Project Foundation, Inc. Is the international, non-governmental, 501(c)(3) organization that is the custodian of The AIDS Memorial Quilt and its associated document and media archive.

For more information, contact Morehead Pride at RSVP to the Diversity & Inclusion event on Facebook

Diversity & Inclusion Forum