Doug Sadownick CSULA Pride Graduation Keynote Speaker

Talia Bletcher, Professor Speaker and Doug Sadownick Keynote Speaker at CSULA's Pride Graduation.

Talia Bletcher, Professor Speaker and Doug Sadownick Keynote Speaker at CSULA’s Pride Graduation.

Doug Sadownick, PhD, Director of the LGBT Specialization in Clinical Psychology and co-founder and director of Colors LGBTQ Youth Counseling Center, was the Keynote Speaker for the California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) Pride Graduation Celebration.

In his speech at the June 13, 2014 ceremony, Sadownick reflected on the importance of having activist ideas. “We don’t only fight the demons outside, but inside as well. Same sex love or queer love is a journey into how we engage on many levels. The challenge today is to not only address problems in the outer world, which are both great and very limiting, the new challenge of LGBTQ are problems of internal homophobia and heteronormativity that prevent us from living to our fullest potential allowing us to emerge as the activists of tomorrow.”

CSULA’s Celebration of Pride Graduates began in 2005. Pride Graduates stand alongside three other Cultural Graduation Celebrations that the Cross Cultural Centers hosts every year: Raza Grad, Black Grad, and Asian & Pacific Islander Grad. The celebrations were initiated by students who wanted to honor their cultural identities at the time of their graduation.

“I chose Dr. Sadownick because I wanted a keynote speaker who exemplifies the importance of pursuing higher education and the range of possibility that one has with their degree,” said Carlos A. Vidales, Program Coordinator, Gender & Sexuality Resource Center, Cross Cultural Centers, CSULA. “More so, our students have noted that they were moved by Colors youth who have been a part of many of our events in the past. I felt that bringing the founder of this wonderful organization would not only show our appreciation, but could also serve as the perfect send-off by sharing his endeavor for a more inclusive world.”

Colors LGBTQ Youth Counseling Center serves the needs of Los Angeles-area Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) youth 25 and under. Colors opened its doors in January 2012 in Downtown Los Angeles and provides free therapy and support to LGBTQ youth and their families. Colors’ mission is to stop bullying and oppression through LGBTQ-Affirmative prevention methods, to address some of the symptoms of injured LGBTQ youths’ self-esteem, and to empower a new generation of LGBTQ individuals to become psychologically-minded leaders and citizens.

Sadownick concluded, “I wish I had known 30 years ago that I’d be here today seeing all these shining faces, open and out today.”