WAS THE KIND
of early spring afternoon made for tossing a Frisbee, studying
barefoot in the grass, maybe dozing off under the warm sun,
but on March 2, 1992, there was little lounging taking place
on the Quadrangle. Beneath a stunning blue sky, more than a
hundred students gathered like storm clouds, their angry voices
rising like the rumble of thunder.
of the closet, into the Quad! they shouted. We will
never be silent again!
protestwhich was later featured in both local and national
news reportswas sparked by a kiss. In December 1991, College
freshmen Alfred Hildebrand and Michael Norris were spotted kissing
in a glassed-in dormitory common area where they thought no
one could see. Soon afterward, some forty students surrounded
the couple, showering the two young men with anti-gay taunts
and threats, among them Die, fags, die.
the incident, Hildebrand and Norris lodged a formal complaint.
But they and a number of other students were dissatisfied with
the initial response. Their primary concern was that administrators
had not fired a student advisor who participated in the harassment.
we found out what had happened to Michael and Alfred, we were
pretty shocked, says Richard Nyankori 92C, who was
co-chair of the Emory Lesbian and Gay Association and helped
organize the protest. Then we learned that not much was
really done about it. A group of us were hanging out in the
DUC talking and all of a sudden it all started to come together.
We went into a meeting room right then and started to plan,
and people were ready to step up to the plate.
During the protest, I remember the moment when we were
marching into the DUC, up that spiral staircase, and there was
the usual talking noise, and then it got really quiet,
says Laura Douglas-Brown 95C-95G, a freshman at
the time. We were all chanting, and we were so loud, coming
into such quietit really felt very powerful. I was young,
I had come from high school and was out at Emory,
but I had never even been to a gay pride march or anything like
that. This was the first sense of any empowerment I ever had.
students ended their march with a silent sit-in outside President
Laneys office, where they did homework and were served
cold Cokes while they waited. Eventually Laney opened his door
and met with several of the protesters.
I met with those students, I was very conscious of the sense
of pain they felt, Laney says now. I was aware that
this was a group on campus that needed some support and some
representation. Like any other minority group on campus, they
needed to have their rights protected and to have a full and
free life among us in the Emory community. That was the spirit
about the progress the University has made since 1992 > >