Legacy Wall in Ames Library

The Legacy Wall, a traveling exhibit featuring stories of LGBT individuals who have made a significant impact in the world, will be coming to The Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University Jan. 31 through Feb. 13. An opening reception is scheduled for Jan. 31 from 4 to 6 p.m.

The interactive Legacy Wall features biographies of people who have made contributions in a number of fields. Some of the individuals featured include author Oscar Wilde, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, British mathematician Alan Turing, and Father Mychal Judge, a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

legacy-wallThe Legacy Wall exhibit was created by the Legacy Project, a Chicago-based nonprofit intended to inform, inspire, enlighten and foster an appreciation for the role LGBT people have played in the advancement of world history and culture. Victor Salvo, the founder and executive director of the Legacy Project, will present remarks at the Jan. 31 opening reception. Other speakers include IWU Provost Jonathan Green, Equality Illinois Field Fellow Marcus Fogliano, Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner and Rev. Kelley Becker, associate pastor of First Christian Church, Bloomington, representing Not in Our Town, one of the sponsors of the exhibit.

The Legacy Wall is brought to Illinois Wesleyan as part of the “Queer Lives” Speaker and Performer Series at IWU funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Other Illinois Wesleyan sponsors include the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, IWU Pride Alliance, and The Ames Library. Organizers said awareness of the roles LGBT people have played in shared human history helps boost the self-esteem of LGBTQ youth who are raised without the benefit of historically significant role models. The goal of the Legacy Wall exhibit is to use the lessons of history to spark conversations and to promote a feeling of safety and belonging in the classroom. The exhibit includes data linking the teaching of LGBT-related content in schools with lowered incidences of bullying between students.

The exhibit may be viewed on the entry-level floor of Ames, which is open Sundays 12 noon to 1:30 a.m.; Monday through Thursday 7:45 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.; Friday 7:45 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

By Emily Phelps ’19

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