On September 23, 2021 America250 hosted a Community Conversation with members of LGBTQ+ communities and their allies. The 60-minute conversation highlighted opportunities for America250 to engage with LGBTQ+ communities, expanding inclusivity and representation in the commemoration, and the importance of amplifying the diverse narratives and experiences of our nation’s complex history. 

Panelists and moderators of the LGBTQ+ Community Conversation
Panelists and moderators of the LGBTQ+ Community Conversation.

The event was co-moderated by America250 staff members Dr. Megan Springate, Director of Engagement, and Dr. Carleen Carey, Director of Public Outreach and Inclusion. Panelists included Hannah Malvin, Founder and Director of Pride Outside and Principal of Hannah Malvin Coaching & Consulting LLC; Jeffrey “Free” Harris, Historian and Historic Preservation Consultant; Tracy Baim, Co-publisher and President of Chicago Reader; and Kai Azada and Richard Baldwin, hosts of Closet Free Radio. 

Members of LGBTQ+ communities have and continue to play a crucial role in our nation’s history. Harris shared that America250 “presents a wonderful opportunity to remind the world that we have been here the whole time,” emphasizing that LGBTQ+ history is part of American history. “Those who were Indigenous were a part of this community, those who arrived in chains were a part of this community, those who arrived as colonists were a part of this community.” Malvin shares the importance of “seeing our heritage reflected back to us and understanding stories we have never heard before.” 

The panel also encourages representation and inclusion. “You don’t make space for what you don’t see,” said Baldwin. Malvin shares that “seeing ourselves represented can be validating and meaningful.” 

America250 will be hosting Community Conversations regularly through 2026. A Community Conversations: Beyond the 50 States with representatives from the U.S. Jurisdictions and Territories takes place on November 4, 2021 from 6:00-7:00pm Eastern. Members of Latino/a and Hispanic communities will join us for a community conversation in January 2022. Stay tuned for future conversations!