• Northwestern University
  • BA, Communications

Derrick Clifton

Point Scholar 2008 – 2012

Born in Chicago, IL, Derrick is a product of a religious upbringing that nurtured his gifts for self-expression through song, speech and writing. His academic and personal journey led him to one of Illinois' top-ranked magnet high schools, an environment he assumed would embrace his queer identity after being bullied as a child, and despite being closeted.

The bullying persisted through high school, but it wasn't long before Derrick dedicated himself to not only rise about the resulting personal challenges, but to also foster community and leave behind a positive legacy for other queer students who would follow.

Although bullying, internalized homophobia and internalized racism threatened to stifle his gifts for self-expression, Derrick moved forward both during high school and college. He capitalized his strengths as the captain of his high school's nationally competitive debate team and took a leadership role in his high school's Queer-Straight Alliance, engaging in a variety of activist endeavors.

Derrick attended Northwestern University, where he majored in communication studies with minors in gender studies and political science, which stemmed from his yearning for a more intersectional approach to communicating with diverse communities and improving media representations.

In addition to social justice advocacy work on campus and successfully coaching local high school debate students, Derrick served on the board of a local social service agency serving homeless youth as part of his Point Community Service Project. He also served as an editor and columnist for The Daily Northwestern, often writing on issues of race, queer identity, gender inequality and other social issues. His work during college earned him various distinctions, including being named by Northwestern Magazine as one of eight "Seniors to Watch" in the class of 2012.

Derrick continues moving forward by forging careers in public relations and journalism. He intends to use his academic background and career path while maintaining involvement with organizations committed to transforming the social and legal landscape for queer communities -- and to do so with attention to coalition building across various intersections of identity. 

Updated February 2013




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