Preserving Pride: Student Activists’ 2008 Mural Captures Activist History

A close-up of a colorful mural with text "Expressions of a Better Georgetown," a peace sign, and other sociopolitical symbols.

In 2007, Georgetown University saw the rise of the “Out for Change” campaign, a student movement urging the university to provide improved support for LGBTQ students in response to a hate crime on campus. The campaign prompted the establishment of the LGBTQ Resource Center and highlighted the struggle for recognition, visibility, equity, and justice for LGBTQ communities and life on the Hilltop. 

The following year in spring 2008, a coalition called Expressions of a Better Georgetown brought together student leaders and activists from across the campus advocating for better education, awareness, and change around social justice issues. This coalition created a mural meant to remind future generations of Hoyas of the importance of solidarity, support, and understanding in all aspects of their identities, drawing upon the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis.

A colorful mural with the text "Expressions of a Better Georgetown" surrounded by symbols expressing social and political goals and ideals.

The symbols depicted on the mural represent various goals and ideals, including free speech; safe sex; marriage equality; worker/student solidarity; coexistence for all scientific, religious, and spiritual expression; racial and ethnic equality; gender equality; peace; women’s activism; disability rights; transgender rights; workers rights; international understanding; and care for the environment.  Also included on the mural is the logo for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, a movement for the societal inclusion of Latinas and Latinos, Chicanas and Chicanos, Nuyorican, Hispanic and immigrants.

Painted on a large canvas, this mural was displayed in the LGBTQ Resource Center for years, reminding students, faculty, and staff of the center’s origins and the ongoing community-wide struggle for social justice. 

A group of six people standing arm in arm in front of the "Expressions of a Better Georgetown" mural.

The mural is now preserved in the Booth Center for Special Collections at Lauinger Library, along with a collection of posters, publications, club apparel, and other materials capturing the Georgetown LGBTQ community’s history and intersections with other social causes. The library also collects books, e-books, databases, and streaming films for students, faculty, and staff interested in exploring LGBTQ stories, history, and issues across the nation and world.