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Donovan Dining Center 14
Antoinette Gomes, Director of the Unity Center
|Members of HOPE|
Project: The Unity Center/LGBTQ Baseline
Antoinette Gomes is Director of the Unity Center, RIC's multicultural center. Ms. Gomes has worked at RIC in various capacities over the past 20 years. She has been with the Unity Center since 2008 and became its full-time Director in 2010. The Unity Center, opened in 1994, increases cultural awareness by providing a safe forum for exploring issues pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion, and through this work, assists students in becoming informed, productive citizens.
As part of The Unity Center's continuing work to advance equitable treatment and improve the quality of life of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals at RIC and in the broader community, the center recently received a grant from the Equity Action fund of The Rhode Island Foundation to support its LGBTQ Baseline project. This funding will help The Unity Center to proactively increase awareness of LGBTQ issues on the campus by developing a profile of the college's LGBTQ population, expanding the center's collection of LGBTQ-relevant titles and sponsoring its "Closets are for Clothes" program during the college's annual Diversity Week.
Kelly Sheehan, who is pursuing a Master's in Social Work at RIC, has been hired to assist in developing an electronic brochure addressing issues and challenges facing the LGBTQ community at RIC and at-large. Ms. Sheehan is conducting interviews and assisting in the development of a survey to identify community concerns and gauge the level of awareness of LGBTQ issues on campus. The center is also evaluating initiatives that have taken place to determine where awareness can be raised further.
Books and texts related to LGBTQ issues are being purchased with grant funds. These novels and texts will be loaned out by the center, ensuring that students have access to resources that reflect diversity relevant to all students and our community. The center is also collaborating with the J.P. Adams Library to increase access to LGBTQ resources for all students.
A t-shirt campaign with the slogan "Closets are for Clothes" is also funded by the grant. The Unity Center is working with RIC's student organization, HOPE (Helping Others Promote Equality) on the t-shirt campaign. T-shirts are still available at the Unity Center in various sizes for only $5 a piece!
This project was made possible by grant # 20111200 from the Rhode Island Foundation, the state's community foundation.