Grand Forks women’s leadership group to host LGBTQ panel discussion

It begins at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Prohibition Room at The Spud Jr.

Jeff Maliskey, the first director of the Pride Center at UND, is among four panelists scheduled to lead a discussion at the "Voices of Allies" event Thursday, Feb. 9, in the Prohibition Room at the Spud Jr. in downtown East Grand Forks.

GRAND FORKS — The Greater Grand Forks Women’s Leadership Cooperative will host a panel discussion highlighting UND and its work in the LGBTQIA+ and literary communities, in advance of the UND Writers Conference next month.

The event, titled “Voices of Allies: Communicating Within the LGBTQIA+ Community,” brings together advocacy leaders for a discussion of activism techniques and resources in Greater Grand Forks. It begins at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Prohibition Room at The Spud Jr., 306 DeMers Ave., East Grand Forks. Reservations are required; go to .

The event, which is free for GGFWLC members and $25 for non-members, starts with a 30-minute social, with complimentary apps and a cash bar.

The panel will include the director of the UND Pride Center, Jeff Maliskey; Grand Forks police officer Brian Samson, who serves as the Police Department’s cultural diversity officer and teaches intercultural communication at UND; Brian Nunn, of Grand Forks; and Merie Kirby, founder of the Greater Grand Forks PFLAG chapter and an associate professor in the UND Honors Program. (PFLAG stands for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.)

Merie Kirby is the founder of the Greater Grand Forks chapter of PFLAG, which holds monthly peer support meetings.
Brian Nunn, of Grand Forks, an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, will be a panelist during the "Voices of Allies" discussion Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Prohibition Room at The Spud Jr. in East Grand Forks.
Brian Samson serves as cultural diversity officer, among other roles, with the Grand Forks Police Department.

Leading up to the UND Writers Conference, the GGFWLC is focusing its book study on the works of two of the conference’s featured writers, Juliet Patterson and Ingrid Rojas Contreras, according to Kaylee Cusack, GGFWLC president.


These authors, along with other invited authors, will be giving public readings during the Writers Conference.

The $50 GGFWLC membership fee, which is half the normal cost, is available through Monday, Feb. 13, Cusack said in a news release. New members may sign up for six-month membership that includes monthly social and other events, along with a reduced registration fee for the season-end June social.

For more information, visit .

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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