By Sean Grier

Campus Activities Board (CAB) will host a discussion night featuring Eric Alva, an Iraq War veteran and lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGT) activist, in the Student Union Multipurpose Room (GHI) Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Alva will speak on what he experienced being a gay war veteran during the tenure of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and his work with the Human Rights Campaign as a gay rights activist where spoke out against the military’s policy.

CAB’s Director of Talks & Topics Sandrine Uwera says she hopes “all participants will be able to see and open their minds to different people and different perspectives that they may come across us.”

Uwera also believes that Alva can lead by example for students who have problems or obstacles in their lives by “telling people how he overcame his obstacles and hardships,” said Uwera.

Alva, a former Marine who served in Somalia during Operation Restore Hope and the Iraq War, had his 13-year career end March 21, 2003, after stepping on a landmine with his right leg.

Alva was the first recorded injury on the ground during the Iraq War and would later receive a Purple Heart for the incident. When his career with the Marine Corps ended, he then turned to public speaking.

In an article in the Huffington Post, Alva said, “I realized that I had fought and nearly died to secure rights for others that I myself was not free to enjoy…It was in my blood to serve.”

Eden Creamer was the Editor-in-Chief for the Niner Times from May 2013 through April 2015. She graduated from UNC Charlotte in May 2015, receiving her degree in Communication Studies with minors in English, Journalism and Women's Studies. She now does freelance proofing, copywriting and design in the Charlotte area, and can be reached at