Penn State Wilkes-Barre to host inaugural LGBTQIA+ symposium

A pride flag draped over the Nittany Lion shrine at Penn State Wilkes-Barre.
Credit: Penn State

DALLAS, Pa. — Penn State Wilkes-Barre will host the first LBGTQIA+ Educational Symposium in conjunction with NEPA Pride Coalition on June 14. The event, headlined by keynote speaker Tony Brooks, a Wilkes-Barre city councilman, local historian and LBGTQIA+ advocate, will be held on campus from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“Penn State shares the view that every individual has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and deserves access to all supportive services,” said Penka Farina, education and training specialist in Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s Office of Continuing Education. “Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are key values for our University and it is important to share those values with our community. Through educational programs such as this symposium, we can help mitigate barriers LGBTQIA+ people face in everyday life.”

The symposium comprises 15 workshops with a multitude of speakers focused on addressing the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals, sharing best practices for community support, and identifying theory and strategy for creating more inclusive spaces aimed at educating health professionals, educators and others.

“We are excited to partner with Penn State Wilkes-Barre and its Office of Continuing Education to bring a diverse panel of speakers to our community. And together, we look forward to building a more inclusive community,” said Dylan Fredricey, founder and executive director of the NEPA Pride Coalition and a graduate of Penn State Wilkes-Barre with a degree in rehabilitation and human services. “We are especially thrilled to announce Tony Brooks as the keynote speaker. His connection to Wilkes-Barre and advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community make him an extraordinary speaker to kick off our inaugural event.”

Brooks is a longtime historic preservationist, local history lecturer and architectural tour guide in Wilkes-Barre. He is the director of the Wilkes-Barre Preservation Society and curator of the 1793 Zebulon Butler House Museum. He also serves as a Wilkes-Barre city councilman and was twice elected council president by his colleagues. Brooks has been active in the parish/diocesan/national affairs of the Episcopal Church. As a member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s Historic (PHMC) Marker Review Panel, he was at the table to explain that Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia was much more than just a bookstore in the 1970s and ’80s. It was the first time the PHMC commemorated a gay business. Brooks also has given testimony on LGBT issues before the Pennsylvania Senate.

Continuing education credits are available for educators, Society for Human Resources Management specialists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors.

Register here for the symposium. For more information, contact Fredricey at 570-331-8528 or [email protected].