A Campus Coordinator's #Pride

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Danny Becker joined The David Project in January 2015. His portfolio of schools include those in New York City, New Jersey, and Nashville. Born and raised in southeast Michigan, Danny graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Comparative Cultures and Politics & International Relations. While at Michigan State,  Danny was an active member in many student organizations and leadership positions during his undergraduate years, including in student government. Danny participated in our second Israel Uncovered mission to Israel in January 2014. He is pictured at left at the recent #BostonPride celebration with other members of  The David Project team.

Attending a large university like Michigan State University was great for a lot of reasons, including the innumerable student organizations and associations that I had access to. As a young freshman, I knew I wanted to get involved, but did not quite know with what. I took some time to think about my options, and I decided student government would be a great way to get to know my community, represent my fellow students, and make a difference. After 4 years and many leadership positions in the James Madison College Student Senate, I can confidently say that I made a difference.

Despite this wonderful experience, I still find myself looking back and thinking about the organizations and communities that I decided not join as actively. One of these was the LGBT community at my school. A wise friend once told me that you select your direction based partly on where you feel you will be utilized best. For me - as a proud gay man - I felt an instinctual pull toward government, knowing full well that there were competent and powerful students leading LGBT advocacy on my campus. At times, however, I wonder what could my impact have been on a community I consider my own? Was I in the wrong for choosing to apply myself elsewhere rather than actively support a community that is so much a part of who I am?

On many of the schools I work with as a campus coordinator for The David Project, our outreach teams are partnering with LGBT communities. Our work on these campuses has helped wash away some of my anxiety about my past choice. The student leaders that I have encountered are some of the most competent, intelligent, and prepared-to-engage students I have ever met. The students that represented their campuses and communities on our Israel Uncovered trip this past January have an amazing ability to both step outside of their comfort zone while inviting others into their perspective of the world, and that has been refreshing and rewarding for me to see. It has been incredible to witness these students take the lessons that they learned and their experiences in Israel back home to their campuses, and continue to build relationships between the LGBT community and the pro-Israel community on their campus.

As many may know by now – including all of those who have seen our fabulous special logo– June is LGBT Pride Month. I have so much to be proud of, from the direction our nation is going in regarding LGBT rights to the support that I have around me to be the man that I know I am. This year, I had the ability to add all of the wonderful LGBT communities on college campuses to that list of things to be proud of. There is no better way to show pride in one's community than to become involved.  I hope to follow the lead of my students and become a more vocal supporter of a community that I call my own.