Marcia White, the keynote speaker for the Marquardt Speaker Series, Peace and Possibility Project, spoke about the importance of her inner compass, core values and beliefs, and how they have helped her achieve her goals and pursue her dreams.
The Peace and Possibility Project aims to bring LGBTQ leaders and advocates to campus to cultivate inclusiveness, cultural opportunities and the ally community, funded by Jane and Tami Marquardt.
Marcia White has served on the Ogden City Council for the past eight years and has been the first openly gay woman on the council.
“We chose Marcia White for this year’s keynote address because she is an engaging and amazing LGBTQ+ leader in the Ogden community through her service on the Ogden City Council and her work addressing inequalities in our community,” Jayson Stokes, coordinator of the LGBT Resource Center, said. “She is an incredible role model and advocate and a fundamental voice in our Ogden community.”
Her first belief is that family is important. Growing up in a God-fearing family in Nebraska, White recounted a story from her youth:
“I sat down and my mom said, ‘I just don’t understand your unnatural attraction to women.’ And I thought, ‘Gosh, that’s an awkward conversation starter.’”
From that experience White said she learned that while these conversations can be hard, at least her mother started that conversation off.
“I’m not great at conversing, but one of the best things that I have learned is that if you have one hard conversation, then you can build on the next hard conversation,” White said.
White continued by saying that without love, thoughtfulness and friendship, goals and accomplishments are valueless.
“A lot of times people ask me why I even want to be on the city council,” White said. “The best thing about it is that I’ve been able to meet people like yourselves, people that I’ve been able to interact with, lasting friendships, people that I’ll be able to say are my friends forever. And that to me is bigger and better than anything I could have imagined.”
White believes that doing what you think is right isn’t predestined.
“Sometimes you’ll say something and then you’ll get some more information and it will change your course and it will change your journey, opinion or decision,” White said.
Jane Marquardt added that, when facing the backlash from opposing views, it’s important to have good friendships that you can rely on for support.
White said transparency and storytelling allow others to get to know each other. White recounted how she and her wife would volunteer to be on panels at the college and how it forced them to put themselves out there. From that, White also learned to be authentic and tear down walls of fear.
White ended with encouraging everyone to reflect on their inner compass and write down their values and beliefs. She also added that it is okay to disagree with each other, but to still share personal individual stories.