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On the Road in Murray, Kentucky: Empowering & Supporting LGBT Students

On the Road in Murray, Kentucky

President Obama has often said that the best ideas don’t just come from Washington. They come from individuals and communities all across the country.  That’s why we – the Office of Public Engagement – are always looking for opportunities to engage the American public in communities all across America.

Earlier this month, I had the chance to visit Murray State University in Western Kentucky for a series of events focused on the LGBT community.  Murray is a proud institution that has taken important steps to create an inclusive, respectful, and safe environment for LGBT students, staff, and faculty, as well as members of the broader Murray community.  Recently, Murray State has implemented a number of best practices – from hiring an LGBT program coordinator to support the student population to establishing a “Safe Zone” program to ensure that all students are safe to learn and thrive – and they are already seeing the positive results.

While on campus, I was honored to meet with the President and Provost of Murray State University to hear about their ongoing efforts and thank them for their leadership.  I also participated in an evening conversation where I had the opportunity to share some of the important steps President Obama and his Administration have taken over the last few years to ensure equality, dignity, and justice for LGBT people.  We were joined by students, faculty, and members of the community, as well as several individuals from nearby communities who were eager to talk about their own experiences and learn more about the Obama Administration’s efforts to support the LGBT community.

Throughout my visit, I was inspired by the important work taking place at Murray State to create a truly inclusive environment for all members of the community.  This kind of work is taking place all across the country – in big towns and small towns, in urban and rural regions – and we can all learn from it.

Gautam Raghavan is an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement.