September 24, 2010

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Three Weeks until Ally Week!

You’re getting this email because you signed up to participate in the 6th annual Ally Week, October 18-22, 2010. Each week leading up to Ally Week we send you helpful organizing tips to help you plan and coordinate your Ally Week activities. Make sure to read through the whole email so you have the most up-to-date information!

The Next Step

Once you know what your group is doing for Ally Week, it’s time to let everyone know! Split up outreach tasks among your team members so that you each can contribute to getting the word out.

  • Register: Make sure all the members of your team also register their participation at www.studentorganizing.org.
  • Faculty Support: Ally Week is a student-led action, but school staff and faculty can still be involved. Educators can help you build your support for your Ally Week activities. Make sure to talk with supportive staff members early and let them know how they can support your organizing! And see NEW Ally Week Educator resources below!
  • Posters: Design posters to put up around school. Make sure to include the name of your club, the date of the event and contact info so people can get involved. And you can hold a party to design posters as a group. Don't have time? You can buy Ally Week posters at the GLSEN Store.
  • Follow Up: Make sure to have short meetings with your Ally Week Team every week. Can’t meet in person? Set up Yahoo or AIM chat to keep in touch and stay on top of tasks!
  • And don’t forget to schedule a Team meeting for next week!

If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Ally Week please email us at info@allyweek.org.

And don't forget to join the Ally Week conversation on Facebook.com/gaystraightalliances and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

September 22, 2010

>I've registered for Ally Week. When will I get my free materials? Will there be enough for my whole GSA?
We will be sending out your Ally Week organizing materials in the next few weeks. Each packet contains enough items for an individual's participation in Ally Week. That's why it is important for every member of your group to register by going to www.studentorganizing.org so you each can get your own packet.

And don't forget to update your mailing address in the My Profile section!

September 17, 2010

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Four weeks until Ally Week!

Ally Week is quickly approaching! Each week leading up to Ally Week we will be sending you helpful organizing tips to help you plan and coordinate your Ally Week activities.

Getting Started

We recommend you start planning for your Ally Week soon if you haven’t already. For this week focus on laying the groundwork for your organizing.

  • Register: Go to www.studentorganizing.org to register your participation in Ally Week so you can get a free packet of buttons, stickers and more! If you've already registered, make sure your address is up-to-date!
  • Gather Information: Find and print resources to help you start your planning and begin a discussion with the advisor of your GSA or student club, or another trusted faculty member. Get resources from AllyWeek.org/action.
  • Get Permission: Your Ally Week is likely to be more successful if the school approves of your activities. Research and follow the proper protocol for approving an activity at your school. Ask your supportive staff member to help. You can download a sample letter for your administration here [DOC].
  • Build a Team: Find peers who want to contribute. Talk to members of your GSA and/or other allies. Tell them about Ally Week and ask if they would be interested in getting involved. Make sure to check out the resources about building coalitions at www.allyweek.org.
  • Schedule for next week: Make sure to schedule a Team meeting with your supportive faculty member and interested students for the upcoming week to keep making progress!

If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Ally Week please email us at info@allyweek.org.

And don't forget to join the Ally Week conversation on Facebook.com/gaystraightalliances and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

September 10, 2010

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It’s time to kick off your organizing with Ally Week!

GLSEN and students across the country will celebrate Ally Week on October 18-22 in schools and communities nationwide. Ally Week is a week for students to plan events that serve to identify, support and celebrate Allies against anti-LGBT language, bullying and harassment in U.S. schools.

Identifying Allies helps you to be more effective in making schools safe for all. Here are three things you can do:

  1. Get FREE Ally Week products: Just sign up at studentorganizing.org and register your Ally Week activities soon and GLSEN will send you a packet that includes buttons, posters and stickers for you to use. Supplies are limited, so go NOW!
  2. Get Tools: There are a lot of organizing tools at AllyWeek.org to help make your Ally Week a success. You can download action resources, sticker templates, sample letters and more
  3. Get Connected: Join the conversation happening on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the loop about exciting announcements, ask questions and share ideas with Ally Week staff and other organizers like you!

If you have any questions, need additional support or want to tell us the great things you're doing for Ally Week, contact us at info@allyweek.org. We love to hear from you.

August 20, 2010

>Charles Pratt, a student in upstate New York, filed suit last April against his school district on claims that he faced severe anti-gay bullying and harassment before he was forced to drop out at age 15. Citing repeated pleas from his parents, Charles claims that district officials were aware of the harassment he faced but deliberately refused to help him. He is represented by Lambda Legal, which reports that he faced almost daily episodes of name-calling and physical intimidation. His sister, Ashley Petranchuk, is also suing the district for denying her rights to start a gay-straight alliance.

The Indian River Central School District has already filed a motion to dismiss the case, but the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a motion to participate as an "amicus curiae," or friend of the court, to help the court decide whether federal discrimination claims should be upheld and to prevent the case from being dismissed.

The Department of Justice intervened in a suit earlier this year in Mohawk, NY also under a Title IX based claim of bullying and discrimination. These cases may represent a new focus at the Department of Justice regarding preventing LGBT-based bullying and harassment.

The Department of Justice contends the arguments of the New York school district are incorrect, and therefore, could add a significant weight to Charles and Ashley’s case. However, the motion to dismiss remains pending.

For local news coverage, click here.
To read the official complaint filed by Lambda Legal, click here.

Submitted by Sara LaPlante
GLSEN Public Policy Intern

June 29, 2010

>GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network is the organization that sponsors and supports the National Day of Silence. This year GLSEN turned 20 years old! Check out this inspiring video that highlights some of the great achievements of GLSEN over the past two decades.

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June 09, 2010

>I've never been the biggest American Idol or Clay Aiken fan, but there is really something great about his recent website change. Yeah, the design is fabulous and up-to-date, but his “causes” tab really caught my eye. He added GLSEN! That’s right America, your idol from 2003 supports safe schools! Looking back I’m pretty ashamed that my vote was for Ruben Studdard, but who knew Clay was going to come outwell, uh, who knew Clay was going to turn out to be a supporter of safe schools?

Here is a glimpse of his cute new website (take note at that big ol’ GLSEN logo):


Moving on, here are some stories I’ve found about Safe Schools that may interest you:


All the way over in Brighton, England, a gay student activist was selected to run for a local council seat.

Link: http://news.pinkpaper.com/NewsStory.aspx?id=3143

Four St. George High Schools in Delaware are going to add GSAs to its extracurricular activities.



Bias-Motivated Beating at a Washington State School Raises Safety Questions

That's all I have for now, but I promise you I'll keep on the lookout for more articles about students out there working to help end bullying and harassment. If that is our common goal, than we'll be able to reach it together. Stay connected and get involved with GLSEN on Facebook and Twitter.

Your friend in the movement,

Christian Fuscarino

June 08, 2010

>I have been asked to introduce myself to all of you who may not know me. My name is Christian Fuscarino and I am the new communication intern here at GLSEN. It’s odd for me to use “new” and “at GLSEN” in the same sentence as I’ve been working with the organization for over seven years now. I first heard of GLSEN in my very first GSA meeting at high school. I taught myself at a very young age that it is important to be proud of who you are regardless of what society thinks. In fact, a few months after I came out I started to sport a rainbow wristband, but I didn’t know quite how important that was until later in my life. After learning about GLSEN I knew immediately that in order to live fully in my life and be true to myself, I needed to get involved. Since then, I have been a “Jump-Start Student Organizer,” a volunteer at National, a chapter chair for GLSEN Northern New Jersey, and now the communications intern.

A lot has changed at GLSEN since I first started back in 2004, but one thing has always stayed the same; GLSEN’s mission to ensure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Over the next few months of working here I hope to bring you the very spirit that keeps our mission alive with inspiring stories, pressing news and important discussions. I have been committed to social networking since my 2007 award-winning independent PSA release (see below) to raise awareness about GLSEN’s National Day of Silence (http://www.dayofsilence.org/). Since that project, I promise you I have improved my skills and knowledge about the GLBT movement and will share all I can with you via the power of internet.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you, reading your opinions and responses and answering any questions you may have about the work that we do. I encourage you to get involved, stay informed and educate many.

If you’re ready to get started, below I’ve included all of GLSEN’s links that you’ll need to get connected:

http://blog.glsen.org/
http://www.facebook.com/NationalDayofSilence
http://www.facebook.com/GLSEN
http://twitter.com/GLSEN

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Your friend in the movement,

Christian Fuscarino

May 31, 2010

>Hi everyone! My name is Alvina and I just graduated from high school in Baltimore. I have attended several GLSEN conferences in the past, and this year, I decided to do a short internship at GLSEN's national headquarters. On the first day of my 2-week internship at GLSEN, Anthony Ramos, Director of Communications, summoned me to his office. As I nervously pattered down the hallway to his desk, I wondered what we could possibly discuss.

Was I already fired? Did I make a mess in the lunchroom?

After I entered, Anthony informed me that I would be the "Voice of God" during GLSEN's New York Respect Awards! Instantly, I pictured Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty and envisioned myself prancing around a stage in a white suit. Anthony reassured me that "Voice of God"- or, "Voice of Goddess" as he now called it - meant that I would be sitting off stage and announcing the show, no white suit required.

After lunch that Monday, I headed up to Gotham Hall with my outfit nestled in an orange plastic bag. As I pulled open the door of the venue, I was greeted with an expanse of white tablecloths and gleaming silverware. I felt a knot of anxiety forming in my shoulder; I hadn't realized how important this event was going to be!

After reviewing my lines, I understood that this dinner would be a celebration of GLSEN's recent achievements and recognition of all of the amazing and generous advocates who have helped GLSEN throughout the year. While the New York City's Youth Pride Chorus serenaded us with "True Colors," I felt as if the event really captured all of the triumphs and strides that various GLSEN organizers have taken throughout the years. After listening to Sirdeaner Walker retell her experience losing her son, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover to bullying, I felt re-energized to keep working towards having safe and inclusive schools for all students.

Not only was it an honor to attend the Respect Awards, but it was also a privilege to be in the company of such stars as Cyndi Lauper and Reichen Lehmkuhl. Also, Will Phillips, the fifth-grader who refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance until the LGBT community has full equality, completely blew my mind. He is among the most brilliant people I have ever encountered. I am amazed by his courage and his ability to critically analyze rituals and policies in place today. Hearing him speak was completely humbling and he will definitely do even greater things in the future.

Overall, one of my best experiences during the Respect Awards would have to be a conversation I had with a man towards the end of the night. At the end of the program, I went up onstage and spoke about LGBT communities of color and about why I organize within communities of color, and especially within my own South Asian community, for LGBT youth. Afterwards, a person of Filipino descent approached me and spoke with me about how he loved listening to what I had to say and about how important he thinks that organizing within these communities is. I was really touched by his candidness and having my work reaffirmed made me feel like what I am doing is necessary.

I am glad to say that the rest of my two-week internship ran smoothly. I wasn’t reprimanded for playing music too loudly, and I didn’t completely trash the lunchroom. Furthermore, my feelings of apprehension before the Respect Awards were replaced with new energy to continue advocacy work throughout, and after, college.

April 30, 2010

>Do you blog? Text? Tweet? Connect with your friends on Facebook? Post photos? Make videos for YouTube? Maybe you’d like to be a GLSEN Ambassador.

We’re doing a nationwide search for students who will be in grades 7-12 during the 2010-2011 school year who want to share their stories in all kinds of media – from newspapers, radio and TV to Twitter, Facebook and more. These students will serve as GLSEN’s public youth voice and a community extension of our efforts at the national level.

The youth leaders will take part in a three-day media and safe schools summit in New York, July 22-25, 2010. The trip will be fully paid by GLSEN. These Ambassadors will learn how to raise awareness about GLSEN and safe schools in traditional and emerging media. With the support of media partners, GLSEN will give students extensive training on getting placement in traditional media and how to leverage their existing knowledge of social media to raise awareness directly to constituents.

GLSEN’s Communications Department will engage the students throughout the year to support their safe schools media work. Students will serve as youth spokespeople, both proactively and reactively, to increase public understanding of the experiences of LGBT youth and their allies in school. Students will also serve as everyday voices in emerging media to communicate to educators, policy makers, fellow students and concerned citizens about GLSEN’s work.

The Ambassadors Media Summit 2010 is limited to 16 secondary school students. APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.

Deadline is midnight, Sunday, May 16th.

Cross-posted to Day of Silence.

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