Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker

Ericka Hart

Each year the Youth Action Conference features a keynote speaker who has made significant strides for the LGBTQ community and embodies the values emphasized by that year’s conference focus. The keynote speaker delivers remarks at the Commonwealth Banquet, which takes place on the Saturday evening of the conference.


The Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference 2018 keynote speaker is Ericka Hart.

Ericka Hart is a kinky, poly, cancer-warrior, activist, trainer, and performer who has taught sexuality education for elementary aged youth to adults across New York City for the past 10 years. Her work in sexuality education was catalyzed by her service as a Peace Corps HIV/AIDS volunteer in Ethiopia from 2008-2010. Ericka has a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University, which is located in Chester, Pennsylvania. She is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of Social Work.

Diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer in May 2014 at the age of 28, she realized that neither her identity as a queer black woman, nor her sex life as a survivor, was featured prominently in her treatment.

Ericka is shifting ingrained cultural modes and attitudes on chronic illness and posits visibility as a sociopolitical stance, one vital to any radically inclusive progressive movement toward equity. From framing desire and pleasure as political to dismantling the ways that systemic patriarchy and anti-black standards of beauty affect our everyday lives, her work is part of a larger conversation on healing that forces us to see our institutions and systems of care as complicit in the perpetuation of illness in marginalized communities; unabashedly centering and sentient such that queer, trans black, brown and femme voices aren’t lost among the drone of scholarly research less skilled than Hart in bringing academia to the places it refuses to go.

Audiences around the world admire Ericka for her ability to use what has swelled to a cult following on social media among young QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) cancer survivors, activists, artists, medical professionals alike to assert the personal as political and challenge anti-blackness everywhere it rears its head–from the front pages of magazines, runways to the university; white supremacist patriarchy does not stand a chance.

For more information on Ericka, please visit their website.



Past Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference Keynote Speakers

2011 Mara Keisling
Executive Director, The National Center for Transgender Equality
Hometown: Harrisburg, PA

2014 Allyson Robinson
Executive Director, Outserve – SLDN (2012-2013)
Hometown: Jermyn, PA

2015 Mike Fleck
First Out Gay State Legislator in Pennsylvania – Former State Representative (R-81, 2007-2014)
Hometown: Huntingdon, PA

2016 Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
Trans Movement Leader and Icon
Hometown: Oakland, CA