UCA earns grant from NAMI Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas has received a $5,000 grant from the Arkansas chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness to help develop the UCA Lavender Library.

The new library will be a hub of learning and connection for UCA’s LGBTQ+ community. It will also serve as a community resource that will empower the UCA and local communities to explore LGBTQ+ topics in a dedicated and affirming space.

“For many in the queer community, learning our history is challenging. We don’t necessarily share identities with our families and finding mentors can be challenging, as being LGBTQ+ is often considered an ‘invisible’ aspect of diversity,” said Taine Duncan, chair of UCA’s Department of Philosophy and Religion and director of the university’s Gender Studies program. “The Lavender Library will ensure that LGBTQ+ students on campus can share and grow in knowledge of the historic vibrancy of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Four people with an oversized novelty check

UCA employees Taine Duncan (left), Arnie Story (third from left) and Mollie Mae Heneger (right) accept a $5,000 grant from NAMI Arkansas. Also pictured second from left is NAMI Arkansas executive director Buster Lackey.

The Lavender Library will be housed in Arkansas Hall as part of the Muse Residential College and will include a variety of items such as printed books (monographs), comics/graphic novels and video and digital resources. The library also plans to host a speaker series on a range of LGBTQ+ topics from queer philosophers, activists, authors and educators. All materials will be made available to students at no cost and allow individuals to borrow or keep materials anonymously.

The grant was presented at the recent NAMI Arkansas Mental Health for All conference. The theme of the conference was “Closing the gap in the LGBTQ+ community for mental health.”

By Philip Allison