February 26, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


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Michael Franklin (b. 1985) is a community organizer who works on the intersections of racism, heterosexism and other forms of oppression. As a leader in GLSEN Baltimore, Michael is very committed to supporting the safe schools movement in being inclusive. This year he played a central role in organizing a local summit to support LGBTQA students of color in taking leadership in and advancing the safe schools movement, and is planning to build upon the event’s foundation with similar programs and actions in the future. He is also co-planning a major training initiative for educators in the Baltimore City School District, which serves a high population of low-income students of color. Outside of GLSEN, Michael will be providing works of poetry to the Black Male Identity Campaign of Art on Purpose, a program that uses art to bring people together around issues and ideas, specifically to challenge and reframe the discourse on black males. He hopes to bring light to the value of including gay, bisexual, and transgender men of color within that collective discourse. Michael’s ongoing work is a testament to the importance of recognizing the multitude of identities that all people hold and engaging in organizing that is inclusive of all of those identities and the issues that are connected to them.



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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

February 24, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


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Daayiee Abdullah (b. 1954), an openly gay Muslim Imam, grew up in Detroit, MI in a Southern Baptist family. Daayiee was politically active from a young age. He worked for California Gov. Jerry Brown’s office in San Francisco and in 1979 he was one of the San Francisco coordinators for the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Abdullah found Islam during his tenure at Beijing University. In 2000 Daayiee joined an online community of gay Muslims and he quickly became a leader in this community. Daayiee soon after became an Imam, and stepped forward to offer funeral prayers for HIV/AIDS victims and perform same-gender wedding ceremonies that no other Imam would do. Abdullah is proud to be one of only two openly gay Imams in the world, and is happy to discuss his beliefs that LGBT people should in no way be excluded from the Islamic community.

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

February 22, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


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Peter Gomes (b. 1942) is an openly gay American Baptist minister and theologian at Harvard University’s Divinity School, despite the fact that his church still openly condemns the "gay lifestyle." Since coming out in 1991, Gomes has remained a strong advocate for a wider acceptance of gay and lesbian people in America. He offered prayer at the presidential inaugurals of both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He is also a well published author on theology. His work includes the national best-selling books The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart and Sermons, the Book of Wisdom for Daily Living.
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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

February 17, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


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Bayard Rustin (1912 – 1987) began his career in activism when he was just a child by protesting against segregation alongside the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Throughout his life Rustin was involved in countless boycotts, protests, and initiatives aimed at protecting the civil rights of all minority groups. He was an expert in non-violent resistance having studied in India with leaders of their independence movement and organized many demonstrations of his own. Bayard played a pivotal role in the Black Civil Rights movement as an advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. Leaders of the movement asked Bayard to stay out of the public spotlight, for fear of being associated with what was at the time his “illegal” life as a gay man. Rustin continued to advocate for civil rights until his death in 1987, including LGBT rights, a cause he adopted in the later part of his life.

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

February 15, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


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"We need to ensure that all of our children are protected. I know that the only way to achieve this goal is to find common ground. We need to teach our children the simple message of respect for all. And we must do it now."

- Sirdeaner Walker

Sirdeaner Walker is the mother of 11-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover, who died by suicide after enduring constant bullying at school. Carl, who attended New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts, was frequently taunted by anti-gay slurs even though he did not identify as gay. Since this tragedy, Sirdeaner Walker has campaigned ferociously against anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in K-12 schools and in support of GLSEN. In July of 2009 she testified in front of the House Subcommittees on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education and Healthy Families and Communities in support of the Safe Schools Improvement Act (federal legislation to require that schools adopt anti-bullying policies).

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

February 11, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!

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Kye Allums (b. 1989) is the first publically transgender person to play NCAA Division I college basketball. Kye, a student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., announced in November 2010 that while he identifies as male, he will continue playing on the women’s basketball team. Kye recognizes that the media attention around his coming out can provide visibility for the trans community. “I am trying to help myself and others to be who they are.” And Kye’s school supports him. Although the team is certain they’ll face difficulty from other communities when they travel, they’re committed to supporting Kye, says teammate Ivy Abonia, “As long as we’re united…we’re a team and we’re a family, we’ll be okay” (AP).

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

February 08, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!

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Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967) was a novelist, playwright, writer and columnist. In a time when blackness was looked down upon in American Society, Hughes was unashamed and proud of his heritage (a theme that can be seen throughout his collection of work). While it is unclear that he identified as LGBT, some academics agree that there are gay undertones present in Langston’s poetry, citing many of his unpublished works which may have been written a male lover. Hughes was never open about his sexuality; he instead chose to focus on the struggle of his people in the African American community. Hughes is now recognized as one of the key figures in the Harlem Renaissance. He was honored with countless awards both during and after his life, has a middle school named in his honor and has even been included in a series of Black Heritage postal stamps. Langston served as a mentor for many young black writers of the 50’s and 60’s, one of whom described him as having "set a tone, a standard of brotherhood and friendship and cooperation, for all of us to follow.”

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

February 04, 2011

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GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!

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Pam Spaulding (b. 1963) is the editor/publisher of Pam’s House Blend (www.pamshouseblend.com), which was nationally recognized as Best LGBT Blog in both 2005 and 2006 by the Weblog Awards. Pam launched her blog in July 2004 in response to the anti-LGBT political climate of the time. The online magazine is visited by over 8,000 people daily. Pam has appeared as a commentator on CNN, as well as contributing to countless other LGBT-focused blogs. In 2006 she was recognized by The Monette-Horwitz Trust with the Distinguished Achievement Award for contributing significantly towards the eradication of homophobia. She is considered by many to be the most important lesbian blogger in America and continues to post daily on her blog from her home state of North Carolina.

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

February 03, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!

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Ruth Ellis (1899 – 2000) dedicated countless years of service to her community, and particularly black LGBT youth. In 1937 Ruth moved to Detroit with her partner Babe, the two bought a house, which from 1946 to 1971 was known as the “Gay Spot.” Not only did their home serve as a safe space for Detroit’s LGBT community, but the couple also offered lodging and support to many black LGBT youth in need. In a time before the Gay Civil Rights Movement began Ruth was a beacon of light for many LGBT youth who found themselves in the dark. In 1999 The Ruth Ellis Center was founded in Detroit, MI, which continues to offer lodging and support to LGBT youth in need. She continued working with LGBT organizations until her death in 2000 at an age of 101.

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

February 02, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!

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Ruth Ellis (1899 – 2000) dedicated countless years of service to her community, and particularly black LGBT youth. In 1937 Ruth moved to Detroit with her partner Babe, the two bought a house, which from 1946 to 1971 was known as the “Gay Spot.” Not only did their home serve as a safe space for Detroit’s LGBT community, but the couple also offered lodging and support to many black LGBT youth in need. In a time before the Gay Civil Rights Movement began Ruth was a beacon of light for many LGBT youth who found themselves in the dark. In 1999 The Ruth Ellis Center was founded in Detroit, MI, which continues to offer lodging and support to LGBT youth in need. She continued working with LGBT organizations until her death in 2000 at an age of 101.

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

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