CORVALLIS, Ore. – Author, attorney, activist and former White House aide Keith Boykin will speak at Oregon State University and the University of Oregon Oct. 11 and 12 in conjunction with “National Coming Out Day” activities on both campuses.
One of the highest-ranking openly gay members of the Clinton administration, Boykin came to national prominence in 1997 with publication of his first book, “One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America.” He has since authored two other best-selling, critically acclaimed books, including a daily devotional book for black lesbians and gays, and is a familiar face on multiple television networks.
His Thursday, Oct. 11, talk at OSU, “My Life as a Gay American,” is set for 7 p.m. in Milam Auditorium, 2520 SW Campus Way. His speech at the UO, “One More River to Cross: The Bridge Between Race and Sexual Orientation,” is set for the following evening, 5:30 p.m., at the Erb Memorial Union, 13th Avenue and University Street. Both talks are free and open to the public.
Educated at Dartmouth and Harvard, where he attended law school with U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, Boykin served President Bill Clinton as a special assistant and director of news analysis. He helped organize in 1993 the historic first-ever White House meeting between a sitting president and leaders of the gay community with a sitting U.S. president.
After leaving the White House, he helped found the National Black Justice Coalition and taught political science at American University in Washington, D.C. With the publication of his books and his frequent speaking appearances around the country, he has become a media favorite, appearing on such programs and outlets as CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” FOX News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” PBS’s “Tony Brown’s Journal,” National Public Radio and more.
“Keith is an ideal person to speak to the many points of convergence between the GLBT and African American communities, as well as between OSU and the greater Corvallis communities,” said Tom J. Johnston, facilitator for the Corvallis/Albany PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter and a lead organizer of Boykin’s visit. “We’re honored and privileged to have him here.”
“Keith Boykin’s work for equity and inclusion is surely borne of the legacy of social justice so courageously led and championed by Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Carla D. Gary, J.D., assistant vice provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity at the UO and a member of the MLK Jr. Planning Committee, a co-sponsor of Boykin’s talk.
Boykin’s appearances have been made possible by broad coalitions in both cities. In Corvallis, sponsors include Corvallis Hewlett-Packard, the OSU Pride Center, the PRIDE Employee Resource Group at Corvallis HP, the People of Color Resource Group at Corvallis HP, Corvallis/Albany PFLAG, Community Alliance for Diversity, the Willamette Valley Forum, Rainbow Health Resources and the Employers' Partnership for Diversity.
In Eugene, sponsors include Basic Rights Oregon Education Fund, Lane County Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, Eugene/Springfield PRIDE, EQuality Network, Religious Response Network, Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC), Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, UO School of Law Outlaws, UO LGBT Educational and Support Services Program, Teacher Education Department of the UO College of Education, UO Diversity Education and Support Services, American Constitution Society, UO Ethnic Studies Program, Oregon Humanities Center, UO Alumni Association and the UO School of Journalism and Communications.