PFLAG Pride Scholarship Winner
Connor was born in Tennessee but has lived in Arkansas since he was two weeks old. By the 9th grade, he had opened up about his sexuality to others, losing many friends but gaining many more. He faced harsh bullying that even included death threats after opening up about his sexuality. Taking the hate that he was shown by others, he pushed for bullying awareness and an environment of tolerance in the Conway Public Schools. In his 11th grade year, Connor, with the help of 3 other students, started Conway’s first “Alliance” program which created a safe place for LGBT youth and allies to come together to talk about issues not just at the school but also in the community and to create a support system for each other. Students in the past at Conway had tried to get a program like this in place for years but were always denied the privilege. After facing large amounts of negative criticism by staff and students and extensive procedures put into place just for this program, Connor was able to create the organization and successfully drop bullying rates at Conway High and create an environment of tolerance. Connor has also opened up his home to youth that need assistance when facing hate and intolerance in their lives. Luckily no one has needed his assistance due to the work of the Alliance program.
Connor will be attending UCA in the fall to study psychology, business management, and anthropology. He plans to go into Human Resources and help create equality in the workplace for LGBT workers. He hopes to help push for legislation that will protect LGBT workers from being fired over their identity and to also protect the customer from being denied service due to their identity. Before he leaves Arkansas for grad school, he would like to see the Religious Restoration Act repealed from Arkansas legislation. Besides equality in the business world, Connor also wishes to continue his help with LGBT youth by opening up shelters that will be a safe house for those who face hate and intolerance by their own family and for those that no longer have a home due to intolerance. He will use the program to put these kids into homes that will be accepting of them and love them for who they were born as.
John Schenck and Robert Loyd Continuing Education Scholarship
Zack Stone is a deaf, transgender junior studying film and graphic design at UCA. His home is in Russellville, and he has been involved working for LGBTQ+ issues in that community as well as Conway and Little Rock through PRIDE events, ATU Spectrum, UCA Prism, PFLAG, ArTEC, and Central Arkansas Integrity. He is also a trained diversity mentor at UCA. Transcending the boundaries between the hearing and deaf communities and the transgender and cisgender communities, Zack has become a strong voice in the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights in Arkansas. He has interviewed for newspapers, talked on the radio, spoken to college educators and administrators, served on community panels, and produces youtube videos for his channel, ZackTheDeafTrans. Zack is the son of Dr. Timothy and Jeannie Stone and has three brothers, including a twin. His dream is to produce music videos and exhibit his visual art.