The self-guided exhibition coming to Xavier April 4 comes from the research project titled “Performing Resistance in the Big Easy: Social Justice and the African American LGBTQ Community in New Orleans.”

The exhibition will be featured in the University Center first floor gallery. The exhibit will spotlight the lives of New Orleanians and their impact on social change. As of 2015, with the addition of C. Reynold Verret, Xavier has been classified as a welcoming campus, and this event is the first example to showcase some of the new views.

The exhibit collaborated with award winning photographer Gus Bennett Jr. , who photographs the New Orleans People Project. The project showcases New Orleans people visually through photography, and the exhibit coming to Xavier will be a Black Pride Edition. The photos will be the only special edition that will feature particular backgrounds specifically the colors of the pride flag which visually will catch the eye.

This month-long exhibit started when Andre Morgan and Kimberly Chandler, a professor at Xavier, felt the need to provide a platform for people that were stripped of their voices due to people placing them inside of a box. In today’s society, people have placed limitations on them based on their beliefs and values. This exhibit plans to break down these limitations. At a Catholic institution, there are already perceptions of how we should support the LGBTQ community. These perceptions are meant to, hopefully, be changed with this event.

“When I look at the photographs, the first thing I’m drawn to are the eyes of the people,” Chandler said, “and when I look at them my hope and my desire and my prayers are that people look at their eyes and see them. See those people not with a label and not with a superimposed stereotype on top of that but to see that person’s humanity.”

The pictures are designed to get people to react and see the people’s faces and smiles to make people feel an emotional connection. Andre Morgan commented that their goal is to “Reach a couple of individuals who previously had a closed mind.” The process of change here at Xavier has also taken some time, to make this campus a welcoming to everyone.

The stigmatization of the LGBTQ community has been made mute and silenced, which the New Orleans Black Pride exhibit will begin to let their voices be heard. The project broadcasts different narratives which are the start of giving voices back to a community which has been voiceless for decades. Be sure to check out the New Orleans People Project presenting the New Orleans Black Pride exhibit on April 4- May 4, 2017, in the University Center First Floor Gallery.

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