In celebration and support of Pride Month, Morehouse College is sharing its inaugural “Profiles of Pride” series, which will highlight the life, experience, and successes of a selection of the College’s own students, alumni, faculty, and staff who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. These people are a few of many who embody the Morehouse mission of leading lives of leadership and service with disciplined minds.
Writer Christian Nwachukwu, Jr. ‘04 has built his career on storytelling and speechwriting, starting as an editor for Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a Penguin Random House company. After publishing, he developed an esteemed career in politics as a speechwriter for several politicians such as former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, former US Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and deputy secretary Nani Coloretti, as well as organizations like the Corporation for National and Community Service and the New York City Housing Authority.
Outside of his professional life, Christian serves as vice president of the board of directors for the Stonewall Community Foundation, an organization dedicated to strengthening the LGBTQ Movement by “making smart, values-driven investments in dynamic organizations, projects, and leaders, funding over 100 nonprofits a year, in more than 30 issue areas.”
Christian is a native of North Carolina and a 2004 graduate of Morehouse College, where he studied biology and edited The Maroon Tiger newspaper. During his time in publishing, he donated hundreds of Random House books to the College's Frederick Douglass Resource Center, now known as the Nwachukwu Collection.
What does “Pride” mean to you?: “The acronym PRIDE was, I believe, first used in 1966 by the radical gay political organization Personal Rights in Defense and Education, which was founded in Los Angeles to organize and demonstrate against the oppression of the Los Angeles Police Department. More well-known is the 1969 Stonewall uprising, a series of demonstrations that took place in response to police violence against queer people in New York City. Pride means liberation to me -- queer liberation but also the liberation of all people, for if queer children and Black trans women, to name two groups, are fully free, fully citizens of this country, then we will all be free.”
What advice would you give your younger self?: “If I could speak with young Christian as he settled into his Living Learning Center dorm room (formerly Thurman Hall) in the fall of 2000, I would tell him that the ‘work’ is twofold, concurrent, and ongoing. First, do the work to heal ‘so you can hear what is being said without the filter of your wounds.’ And second, even in your woundedness you are still worthy of love, most of all from yourself. I spent most of my youth and young adulthood unable to believe that anyone could love me as I was because my self-love at the time came with qualifications and promises: to be better, to be different, to become someone else.”
What are the ideal attributes of an ally?: “An ideal ally is someone who acknowledges the ways in which society privileges them and is willing, and perhaps eager, to give those privileges up. If you are looking for ways to help strengthen the LGBTQ Movement, I recommend visiting the Stonewall Community Foundation (SCF) to learn about the organization and some of the partners with whom SCF works to address a wide range of LGBTQ issues, from caring for aging adults and eliminating HIV to ending homelessness and improving mental health.”