An Association that Walks the Talk

British ruby star Ben Cohen brought his anti-bullying campaign to the ACPA Convention.

British ruby star Ben Cohen brought his anti-bullying campaign to the ACPA Convention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAS VEGAS — First as a journalist and now as a commercial photographer, I have had a lot of contact with non-profit associations over the years. In fact, I was once president of a professional non-profit, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

So it is not surprising that I see non-profits as some of America’s under-appreciated assets and whose staff and volunteers contribute mightily to our nation’s greatness. Where government bureaucracies and industry fall short, non-profits are often there to represent professional groups, feed and care for the disadvantaged and provide energy, commitment and money to further great causes like cancer research for women and anti-bullying campaigns for gay youth.

And that is why my work this week with the American College Personnel Association was especially gratifying. When you attend any non-profit’s annual conference you can tell if

Melissa Harris-Perry spoke about the politics of civil rights.

Melissa Harris-Perry spoke about the politics of civil rights.

the organization has the vital energy that motivates volunteers, leadership that focuses on its mission and the commitment by everyone to live up to the association’s most lofty principals.

And it’s clear that ACPA walks the talk.

Wherever I found myself photo shooting at this week’s annual conference in Las Vegas, I frequently heard ACPA’s leaders and campus professionals, who are non-faculty professionals, talking about “always putting students first.” It also is an organization that strongly advocates for creating an inclusive culture on our nation’s college campuses, and thus helping to foster a society that embraces diversity.

Those values were forefront in the selection of keynote speakers and their messages this week.

I had the privilege to photograph Melissa Harris-Perry, who hosts her own show on MSNBC and is a professor of political science at Tulane University; BD Wong, the openly gay Asian-American actor who played forensic psychiatrist Dr. George Huang on Law and Order: SVU; and Ben Cohen, a Rugby World Cup winner and straight athlete who advocates for LGBT equality and fights bullying.

Thanks ACPA for your work for students and allowing me to help tell your story.

Ben Cohen talked about how his father was beaten to death and how that motivated him to stand-up against bullying.

Ben Cohen talked about how his father was beaten to death and how that motivated him to stand-up against bullying.

Actor BD Wong praised university professionals for teaching students the values of being inclusive.

Actor BD Wong praised university professionals for teaching students the values of being inclusive.

Wong's talk was high on substance but also punctuated by some theatrical poses and expressions.

Wong’s talk was high on substance but also punctuated by some theatrical poses and expressions.

Melissa Harris-Perry said: Look up Romans 9:13 in a Bible and it does not say that.

Melissa Harris-Perry said: “Look up Romans 9:13 in a Bible and it does not say that.”

Harris-Perry used high-impact images like this one of a lynching to make the point that all groups need to be involved to advance civil rights.

Harris-Perry used images like this one to argue that all groups need to be involved to advance civil rights.

Harris-Perry gave a powerful presentation that held the attention of her audience, giving listeners reason to think and be reflective.

Harris-Perry’s powerful presentation held the attention of her audience, giving listeners reason to think and reflect.

Compelling speakers help engage and motivate members. And strong photography helps bring the story home.

Compelling speakers help engage and motivate members. And strong photography helps bring the story home.

 

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