Activist embraces themes of identity, equality at Pride Month lecture

Jordyn Bensyl

UMKC’s LGBTQIA Affairs Council welcomed DeRay Mckesson to campus Tuesday night for the 2018 pride month lecture.

Mckesson is an American social rights activist and former school administrator. He is best known for his support in the demonstrations that took place in Ferguson after the shooting of the unarmed black man Michael Brown Jr.

Mckesson has been named one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, and one of the Most Influential People on the Internet by Time Magazine.

He began his lecture with the theme of resistance. Mckesson believes people are more in love with the idea of resistance than the work of resistance.

Four years after the demonstrations in Ferguson, Mckesson asks, “How do we start to talk and think about the work differently?”

DeRay Mckesson speaks at UMKC’s annual Pride Month lecture.

“This is not a system of chance, and it’s not a system of constants, this is a system of choices.”

Jacob Sumner, vice president of the LGBTQIA Affairs Council, said he admires the way Mckesson is able to be an ally for multiple marginalized groups.

President of Pride Alliance Savannah Dean agreed, acknowledging Mckesson’s capacity to discuss both race and sexuality.

“Our main mission has always been to focus in on the most marginalized people within our community, which have been black and brown people,” Dean said.

Mckessen closed out his presentation with a call for respect.

“I haven’t figured out what to do about homophobia or transphobia yet, but I can imagine a world where we can be a community with each other,” he said. “We can disagree and not attack people’s identity.”

To get involved with more Pride Month events you can visit

(Photo source University of Missouri-Kansas City)

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