Conference Agenda and Workshops Schedule



To view the NELGBT conference booklet and Saturday workshop breakdown for 2018 please click here.


Friday, April 6, 2018
Paul Robeson Campus Center Essex Room 231
350 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Newark, NJ 07102

1:30 PM - 4:00 PM: Health Fair/HIV Testing

We will be offering a small health fair for our attendees with some of our Newark Community Members, as well as free HIV testing through a community partner.

3:00 PM: Registration Opens

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM: “Mirror, Mirror” Gallery Exhibition Tours
(Hahnes Express Newark Gallery)

After you register at our registration table and drop off your luggage in our convenient, staff-attended luggage room, you will have the opportunity to visit the newest building in the Rutgers University-Newark campus, the Hahne's Building.  A guide will take you to Halsey Street to walk through our Rutgers-Newark gallery exhibition of Mirror, Mirror.  From their website:

"Mirror Mirror" plumbs the relationship between identity, cultural norms, and representation. In the most abbreviated of forms, a portrait is a depiction of a person, usually a face, occasionally a torso, sometimes more of the body, or even a symbolic representation of an aspect of an individual’s character. The artists in the show have approached the subject of portraiture in a multitude of ways. Historically, portraiture was utilized in service of the ruling classes, and some of the works in the exhibition explore the machinations of the powerful, touching upon the fraught histories of colonialism, slavery, American inference abroad, and eugenic practices. Photography is presented in both documentary modes and as a means to deconstruct representations of femininity, adolescence, and motherhood. Other artists work in non-traditional media, exploring the portrait painted by our data and bacteria, and radical possibilities of self-invention through new virtual and bio technologies. Taken as a whole, the works in Mirror Mirror communicate the connected nature of representation and self-determination (

5:30 PM: Dinner

5:30 PM: Rhythm in our Narratives with Keynote Speaker Carla Christopher

Poet-Activist, Carla Christopher, is a former Poet Laureate of York, Pennsylvania (2011 – 2013) and was the 2014 Arts and Cultural Community Liaison for the City of York. A veteran of social service, Carla studied psychology, education, and creative writing at Columbia University in the City of New York and spent years as an educator and case manager in domestic violence shelters, state prison systems, and school districts before connecting her belief in the power of the written and spoken word with her passion for activism.

Carla has twice received the key to the city for her community empowerment and education initiatives, which range from founding Equality Fest, a multi-thousand attendee festival in celebration of LGBTQA Marriage Equality, to creating a retailer cultural competency training model for urban renewal business districts. She has been the force behind regional campaigns and activism training curriculum for groups like Food and Water Watch, Put People First - PA, the Y.W.C.A. of York County and several political campaigns. She has designed diversity programming for multiple school districts, businesses, and libraries, and has been a keynote speaker, featured performer and workshop facilitator for dozens of organizations, nonprofits, and educational institutions around the globe, from Rutgers, Penn State, and Northern Arizona University to organizations in Kosovo, Albania, Flint, Chicago, Baltimore, Phoenix and Philadelphia in the last few years alone.

Carla is currently the co-director of Community Arts Ink Press & Promotion, host of the cultural showcase, Culture & Main, on WRCT,  and is widely published, including three collections of poetry, Song (Columbia University Press, 2000), Baby, Read Me Something with Rhythm (PoemSugar Press, 2011), Strength (New York Quarterly Press, 2018) and a poetic memoir, Fruit of the Darkest Tree (Community Arts Ink, 2017). She also currently performs with the Poetry/Funk Fusion Band, Groove Ink, and released the EP Of Water Born with the ensemble Poetic Voices in 2015, and the full-length recorded collection, Poetry from the Ashes with Soul Thief Collective in 2017. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Divinity at United Lutheran Seminary - Gettysburg.

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM: An evening of Narratives

We will break into smaller groups to do some introductory narrative work.  These workshops will be facilitated by Rutgers-University Newark staff and students using a Social Justice model.

8:30 PM - 11:00 PM:  Speed Networking/No Talent, Talent Show
(NJIT Campus Center - 150 Bleeker Street Newark, NJ 07102)

Bring your best foot to put forward and your talent to put on display in our Speed Networking and Talent Show!  Showcasing the pub at NJIT, our committee partner, we are excited to offer you a space to make new friends and show everyone how uniquely talented you are!  You can do the Speed Networking without participating in the Talent Show, so don’t worry!  Whether you choose to perform or not, still come out, make new friends and enjoy the show!


Saturday, April 7, 2018
15 Washington Street, Great Hall
Newark, NJ 07102

8:00 AM : Breakfast

Breakfast is served at our wonderfully grand building at 15 Washington, Newark, NJ.  Join us for our early morning coffee and pastries in the Great Hall at 15 Washington, a historic building in Newark and on the Rutgers-Newark campus.

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM: Morning Workshop - Sessions I
(Various Locations)

We start our workshops, with an amazing selection of 13 different workshops facilitated by students and community members. Everyone will have a chance to attend their workshop of choice; but, due to space limitations and wanting to provide an intimate space, those that register will have first dibs on seats to all of our workshops.

To register for workshops please click here.

12:05 PM - 1:30 PM: Lunch and Panel: An afternoon of Intersectional Activism

Lunch and Panel.  Location:  15 Washington, GreatHall

Our panel and moderator will include Dr. Dr. Bil Leipold, Dr. Shana Russell, Amir Ashour, an LGBTQ Activist from Iran and Ziva Gorani.  Their bios are as follows:

Moderator: Dr. Bil Leipold

Dr. Bil Leipold, Dr. Bil, is currently the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services & Experience at Rutgers University-Newark. Prior to this, he served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources and the Associate Dean of Academic Programs & Students Services for the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University-Newark. Dr. Bil had the opportunity to serve as the Human Resources Integration Lead during the historic merger with legacy University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. With more than 25 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Bil has had the opportunity to work in multiple areas that range from housing and residence life, human resources, athletics and academic affairs.  Dr. Bil has won numerous awards that range from Campus Activities Magazine’s Diversity Artist of the Year in 2006; outstanding new professional from ACPA; and Rutgers University’s Norman Samuels Award for outstanding service to students. As a consultant and trainer, Bil has had the privilege to speak at hundreds of universities in 48 of the states.  He speaks on issues related to leadership development, social justice, homophobia and bullying. His research has focused on social justice, marginalized sexual orientations and identities, and higher education leadership. Dr. Bil attended Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Norwich University and St. John Fisher College..

Panelist: Dr. Shana A. Russell

Dr. Shana A. Russell received her Ph.D. in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. Both her scholarly research and her organizing work are grounded by history and literature, past and present, to construct narratives of resistance among black women workers. Her current manuscript in progress, tentatively titled "Richard Wright's Native Daughters," explores fictional representations of working-class black women in the work of Richard Wright. As an educator, she resurrects the voices of ordinary people to tell local stories with global significance. This lies at the center of her current work as the Program Manager for the States of Incarceration initiative at the Humanities Action Lab.

Panelist: Amir Ashour

Amir Ashour is an international speaker, speaker and founder of the organization IraQueer. IraQueer is a registered human rights organization focusing on the LGBT+ community in Iraq/Kurdistan region. He founded the organization on March 2015 making it the first and only LGBT+ focusing on the LGBT+ community in Iraq/Kurdistan region. Ashour has cultivated a diverse team of young activists between the age of 18 - 32 residing mostly inside the Iraq/Kurdistan region, whose focus is on advancing IraQueer’s mission to advocate and represent the first queer movement in Iraq's public history. For more information about IraQueer please visit

Panelist: Ziva Gorani

Ziva Gorani is a Kurdish Syrian pansexual Trans woman. Ziva moved to Canada in 2016 from Syria via Turkey. Working in the humanitarian sector in Turkey and Syria, Ziva developed an activist voice when she began speaking about her experience as a queer Trans woman displaced by war and religious intolerance. Ziva works in the region of Peel to increase visibility and inclusion of LGBTQ+ communities through community development and interventions to improve wellbeing.

1:30 PM - 4:30 PM: Afternoon Workshop- Sessions II   
(Various Locations)

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM:  Caucuses

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM: Sober/Recovery Meeting   
(15 Washington Street 2nd Floor)

This meeting space is not affiliated with a specific 12 step program but is open to all attendees who participate in any of the 12 Step programs and/or are seeking support on their journey to sobriety/recovery during the NELGBT Conference.   The focus of this meeting will include sharing our narratives in a confidential environment, positive reflection on our progress, and seeking support through shared resources.

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM:  GaySL                        
(15 Washington Street 2nd Floor)

Back by popular demand, Hayden Kristal will offer an encore presentation of their very popular GaySL workshop.  Seating is limited to 75, so you must sign up for this workshop.

Please click here to register for this workshop.

8:00 PM - 10:45 PM:  Screening of “Saturday Church.”  
(15 Washington Street 2nd Floor)

SATURDAY CHURCH tells the story of 14-year-old Ulysses, a shy and effeminate boy, who finds himself coping with new responsibilities as "man of the house" after the death of his father. Living alongside his mother, younger brother, and conservative aunt, Ulysses is also struggling with questions about his gender identity. He finds an escape by creating a world of fantasy filled with dance and music. Ulysses' journey takes a turn for the better when he encounters a vibrant transgender community, who take him to "Saturday Church," a program for LGBTQ youth. Ulysses manages to keep his two worlds apart; appeasing his aunt and discovering his passion for the NYC ball scene, and voguing, until his double life is revealed. Ulysses must find the courage to be who he truly is, all while risking losing those he cares about most.

8:00 PM - 10:45 PM:  Express Yourself Dance!

Put on your best party clothes and come out to Express Yourself!  Dance to the sounds of our own RU-Newark DJ from our local radio station WRNU as we dance, laugh and have a great time on Saturday night.  We will also have a photographer there so that you can capture the memories of the night!

Sunday, April 8, 2018
Paul Robeson Campus Center Essex Room 231
350 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Newark, NJ 07102

8:00 AM : Breakfast

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM: Final Breakout Sessions - Session III 
(Various Locations)

For these breakout sessions, we will come together to hold planning sessions where, as a group, you can address an issue that is facing your campus or broader community and work together to create an action plan to bring social justice to your own communities.

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM: Closing Plenary

To view the NELGBT conference booklet and Saturday workshop breakdown for 2018 please click here.

Come and join us for the final word on the 2018 Northeast LGBT Conference!