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HOSTOS JOINS NATIONAL MOVEMENT
TO SUPPORT LGBTQ COMMUNITY

Professor Leigh Phillips speaks about the National Day of Silence and the importance of supporting the LGBTQ community on April 17. (Photo by Ediberto Saldaña.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013 (Bronx, NY) - On April 17, members of the Hostos Community College Safe Zone organization, which supports the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) community, joined the “National Day of Silence” with a special event in the Faculty Dining Room.

Attended by students, faculty and staff, including President Félix Matos Rodríguez, the event featured speakers who provided information, but more importantly, a platform to be heard. Safe Zone members Elizabeth Wilson, Director of College Now, Professors Leigh Phillips (English Department), Professor Isabel Félíz (Language and Cognition Department), Deyanira García from the College Opportunity to Prepare for Employment (COPE) program, and Ediberto Saldaña (student) all helped to make the event a great success.

The goal of the Safe Zone at Hostos Community College is to educate the campus in order to support the needs of the LGBTQ community.  A Safe Zone ally works as a point person and can provide support to an LGBTQ individual.

Wilson said Safe Zone at Hostos helps to guarantee all students are given a fair opportunity to fulfill their higher education goals. "The existence of a Safe Zone program sends a message to all members of the Hostos community that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning people are welcome members of our community. We hope to be part of a larger effort to promote a general atmosphere of respect on campus for LGBTQ students, faculty and staff," Wilson said.

The National Day of Silence is a day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment in schools.

Founded in 1996, the National Day of Silence has become the largest single student-led action for creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. From the first-ever Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, to the organizing efforts in over 8,000 middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities across the country in 2008, its textured history reflects its diversity in both numbers and reach.

For more information, go to http://www.dayofsilence.org/

About Hostos Community College:
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system, was founded in 1968.  In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in 1970 to more than 7,000 students in 2012. The college also serves an additional 12,000 students through its Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit www.hostos.cuny.edu

Media Contact:
Soldanela Rivera - srlopez@hostos.cuny.edu / 718-518-6872 or 917-627-9097
Rich Pietras – rpietras@hostos.cuny.edu / 718-518-6513

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