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January 04, 2015
Check out one of the featured videos from the "What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?" call for submissions. This video was submitted by Alexander P. of San Diego, CA. Here is what Alexander had to say about his video:
Why I myself am not a member of the LGBT community, I am friends with a lot of people who are. Many of these people are my closest friends and are dear to me. It would hurt me to see them be insulted in ways I've never really been attacked and pressured into the silence the Day of Silence tries to make others aware of. As a student filmmaker, I decided to pick up my camera and share the words of my fellow GSA club members to help bring awareness to the issues of harassment to LGBT youth. Always being a bit "different", I've tended to make the short films and music I create to be a little off and a bit odd. I've always thought weirdness is a virtue. Some people see me as being weird for trying to be nicer to people. But being under the label of LGBT doesn't really make you different, in my opinion it's how you treat people and the world around you that does.
"The Day of Silence- 2012 (A Message from CCA GSA)"
Thanks, Alexander and the CCA GSA! What an awesome video!
January 04, 2015
We got so many amazing submissions to the "What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?" contest. Thank you all who submitted an entry to us! Your bravery, resilience, and determination is inspiring. Thank you all for making the Day of Silence such a tremendous event. Your voices are being heard. We are proud to announce the videos and written submissions that will be featured on the GLSEN Blog! Check back daily until the Day of Silence (4/20) to see the submissions!
-Alexander P. from San Diego, CA
-Amanda L. from Syosset, NY
-Arial P. from Hendersonville, TN
-Rachel S. from Tucson, AZ
-Ilana K. from Rockville, MD
-Kristin J. from Silverdale, WA
Honorable Mentions (Video)
-Jackson G. from Gulfport, MS
-Alexander H. from Christmas, FL
Honorable Mentions (Written)
-Katie B. from Lebanon, IL
-Zachary C. from Pendleton, SC
-Teresa D. from Elmwood Park, IL
-Neal R. from Dauphin, PA
Congratulations to the featured submissions! We are so thankful that you took the time to share you stories with us. Remember to visit the GLSEN Blog daily to watch and read the entries! Also, today is the last day of order your Day of Silence merchandise. Make sure you order your materials in time!
January 04, 2015
We've been getting lots of questions about using social media on the Day of Silence. Ultimately, it's up to your if you want to engage in social media or not on the Day of Silence! However, we think that using social media is a great way to stay connected and stand in solidarity with other Day of Silence organizers around the country. Social media is also a tool you can use to ask GLSEN for support if you are having trouble with your Day of Silence plans. If you do want to use social media, here are some ways to stay connected!
Change your cover photo and profile picture to show your participation in the event! Also "like" the Day of Silence on facebook, and feel free to post about your day with other participants!
Send your tweets to #DayofSilence and follow us @DayofSilence
Tag your photos #DayofSilence
We are looking forward to hearing from you leading up to the Day of Silence and on the Day! Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. Don't forget to order your Day of Silence gear by 4/13/12! And register your Day of Silence event here. Happy organizing, Juliann DiNicola GLSEN Community Initiatives
January 04, 2015
Who doesn't love a good beat with a positive message? XELLE is partnering up with GLSEN for the release of their third single "Invincible" to support our work to ensure safe schools for LGBT students and their allies.
The ladies of XELLE (JC Cassis, Rony G and Mimi Imfurst) are using the upcoming release of their song "Invincible" to increase awareness about anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. And the energetic pop group are going to donate sales of "Invincible" to GLSEN when the single is released on Valentines Day, February 14, 2012 .
“When I was in high school, it was bullying by my peers and being assaulted by a school personnel that lead to me being outted to my family. I then found myself homeless after being kicked out of my house for being gay. GLSEN was one of the organizations that supported me during that time. As a member of XELLE it is important that we give back so no young person has to experience what I did.
XELLE is celebrating the release of their new single this coming Tuesday in New York City. The "Invincible" Release Party is hosted by Season 4 RuPaul’s Drag Race Star Jiggly Caliente and Project Runway Season 9 runner up Joshua McKinley. You must be 21+ to attend the event. There is no cover, but drink sales will benefit GLSEN!
The "Invincible" music video will also be released exclusively on blog.glsen.org on February 15. Make sure to visit our blog to watch the ladies of XELLE turn it out in support of LGBT students and their allies.
January 04, 2015
Today marks the last day of GLSEN's ninth annual No Name-Calling Week. We couldn't be more happier with the participation. As we mentioned in a previous post, thousands of schools took part including communities like Kewanee, IL; Fort Scott, KS; Asheville, NC and; Mandeville, LA.
But what about when a corporation teams up to participate in No Name-Calling Week?
Cisco Systems has been a leading sponsor of No Name-Calling Week for the past six years. Cisco Systems Vice President and GLSEN Board Member Rick Moran took some time out of his busy schedule to share this thoughts about why the company supports the program, his own experiences with bullying and what to do if a student is bullied.
Thanks for sitting down with us for an interview. Can you share how Cisco first became involved in No Name-Calling Week?
Cisco got involved six years ago, which was before I joined the [GLSEN] board. I was in NYC and met with Kevin (GLSEN's founder and former Executive Director). We talked about GLSEN’s programs, and No Name-Calling Week really stood out as a program that I thought Cisco might support. I reported back to our LGBT and Advocates employee resource group and suggested we rally around it. Most people didn’t know anything about it, but once they heard about the lessons and resources, they got very excited.
So No Name-Calling Week really grabbed their attention?
Cisco’s tagline is “Changing the way people live, work, play and learn” and this program touched “learn”. The members of the LGBT employee resource group got very excited and wanted to help. They engaged other Cisco employee resource groups to also participate.
That's amazing. It's also incredible that Cisco actually participates in the program. What does that usually look like?
Generally, we have 40 to 50 participants. They wear Cisco t-shirts, introduce themselves, wear a badge and give a lesson. They find it amazing and gratifying. The challenge is the education environment is that we have to work a little harder to help the educators feel comfortable with having a non-teacher in their classroom. But in all of the No Name-Calling Week experiences, we’ve had a great response from schools in Raleigh, suburban Dallas and Silicon Valley.
You mentioned about involving other Cisco employees in the week-long program. Can you share a little bit more about that?
We’ve brought in members of other employee resources groups: Hispanic, People of Color, Women. We have a lot of employees who are new to the country, especially from the Middle East, as many of our engineers come from India and Pakistan. Their kids are bullied, and the culture of the company is to support and help them.
It's very rewarding to hear No Name-Calling Week would resonate with people coming from different backgrounds including immigrant families. It's also interesting to hear you describe Cisco like more of a community than simply a workplace.
Cisco has an interesting dynamic and presence in Silicon Valley. We have 37,000 employees on campus, but when you add their children and other dependents, we have connections to more 100,000 people. So what happens at Cisco can really be a force for change.
As you know, bullying can manifest itself in different ways. The topic of cyberbullying is gaining a lot of traction and is something that we at GLSEN are paying more attention to. Is cyberbullying something Cisco cares about?
We are a hardware company. We build networks. There’s a lot that we can do through our technologies, and we are actively looking at the implications of all this in the cyberworld, where the rules are different and the opportunity to do harm is great.
Of course, it's been great to count Cisco as a leading sponsor of No Name-Calling Week. But can you share why the educational event personally resonates with you?
My dad was an educator, which meant we were around teachers all the time, so I had a very different relationship with teachers. I grew up in a mid-sized town with 5 high schools and 8 middle schools. I believed that teachers were there to help me, and I went to them when I needed help.
You've watched No Name-Calling Week grow from a small event into one of the largest bullying prevention programs in the country. Why does Cisco continue to lend its support?
Over the years, people have wondered what Cisco is willing to stand behind. I’m very proud that Cisco has been so willing to stand behind No Name-Calling Week for the past six years. Seeing other corporations get involved is fantastic -- of course, I’d like for us to be the only sponsor of the program -- but I’m thrilled to see others step forward. It’s a powerful statement about being willing to take on the challenge of bullying.
Thanks to you and Cisco, we've definitely been able to grow the program into what it is today. We just have one final question before we let you go: what advice would you give to a student who is the victim of bullying?
I learned that the most important thing to do about bullying is to tell someone. Talk to an adult. It is simply the most important thing you can do. Get out of the situation as quickly as you can. It’s ok to run away and be ready to fight another day. And if you see someone else getting bullied, and you can’t help, get someone who can. Don't ever turn a blind eye.
Thanks Rick for taking the time to chat with us. We also appreciate your support.
January 04, 2015
GLSEN is proud to support the first-ever National Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Day! We teamed up with more than 35+ statewide and national partners to recognize the amazing contributions GSAs have made and continue to make in schools across the country.
GSA Day was first organized in 2006 by the Iowa Pride Network after Governor Tom Vilsack declared October 25, 2006, "Iowa Gay-Straight Alliance Day" in honor of GSAs around the state that work to improve Iowa school climate. This year, the statewide observance has gone national with a host of support.
This is what GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard had to say about GSA Day:
GLSEN is proud to work with the thousands of GSAs across the country, Iowa Pride Network and fellow National GSA Day partners to recognize the tremendous impact these student clubs have on creating safe and affirming learning environments for all students.
Curious about how a GSA can benefit a student in school? Check out GLSEN's Research Brief filled with interesting findings on how GSAs are actually beneficial to improving school climate.
The White House is also celebrating National GSA Day. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a special video for students in GSAs. You can watch it below!
It's worth noting that issues facing GSAs have not been ignored by the Obama Administration. The U.S. Department of Education issued a "Dear Colleagues" letter outlining the legal rights of students to establish GSAs in school.
So what are YOU doing to celebrate National GSA Day?
Here are a few ideas to get involved:
Start a GSA. Does your school not have a GSA? You're not alone and we have the tools if you want to establish a GSA at your school. Take a look at some of the easy-to-read GSA resources that we offer to student leaders. We make GSA organizing a snap with tips, tools and activities. Get the goods!
Be counted. Take part in GLSEN's GSA Census so we can make sure student-led clubs like yours have the resources and support to continue your work in schools across the country. The process is simple and will take less than 3 minutes!
Connect. Join the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page where you can network with other GSA student leaders, exchange tips and find a community of other amazing students working to improve their schools and communities.
Lobby with us. GLSEN is still accepting applications for its Safe Schools Advocacy Summit. The 4-day event in Washington, DC brings together students, educators, parents and community members to learn about how to become effective Safe School advocates. GLSEN covers all of your expenses (travel, accommodations, food, etc) if your selected to come. Applications are due February 1. Apply here!
January 04, 2015
GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week is well underway in thousands of schools all across the country. The nationally recognized event is aimed at addressing name-calling and bullying in schools.
The week-long event was first organized by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing with more than 50 participating organizations supporting the week-long event including the National Education Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
DID YOU KNOW? This is the ninth annual No Name-Calling Week. The event was first organized in 2004.
There's been a lot of buzz around this year's event. Media have reported about No Name-Calling Week taking place in communities like Phoenix, Fort Scott and Asheville. Massachusetts went a step further with Governor Deval Patrick designating January 25 as "No Name-Calling Day" in the Bay State.
FUN FACT: Schools participating in No Name-Calling Week can download a variety of lesson plans, activities and other suggested resources. There have been more than 27,000 downloads of our materials in the past 30 days alone.
GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week was inspired by "The Misfits," a young adult novel written by James Howe. The story follows four students who have each experienced name-calling and decide to run for student council on the platform of creating a "No Name Day" at school. Ever since, James Howe has continued to support the annual week-long event organized at all grade levels.
Thanks to our friends at Simon & Schuster, James Howe made a video to share with No Name-Calling Week participants and supporters. You can watch his message below.
January 04, 2015
We made it! No Name-Calling Week is now in full swing! Are you looking for a lesson plan?
Check out Let's Get Real, a short film produced by GLSEN's long-time organizational partner, GroundSpark. Let’s Get Real doesn’t sugarcoat the truth or feature adults lecturing kids about what to do when kids pick on them. Instead, it examines a variety of issues that lead to taunting and bullying, including racial differences, perceived sexual orientation, learning disabilities, religious differences, sexual harassment and others. The film not only gives a voice to targeted kids, but also to kids who do the bullying to find out why they lash out at their peers and how it makes them feel. The most heartening part of Let’s Get Real includes stories of youth who have mustered the courage to stand up for themselves or a classmate.
At GLSEN, we recommend this excellent short film to use with your students in grades 5 – 9. Let's Get Real is widely hailed as one of the best tools for opening up meaningful, life-changing dialogue in schools today.
As a special offer for No Name Calling Week, GroundSpark is providing free streaming of Let's Get Real the entire week. To obtain your free digital stream, just send an email to email@example.com saying "Let's Get Real" NNCW 2012 in the subject line.
January 04, 2015
GLSEN is excited to announce our second daylong pre-conference institute on Thursday, Jan. 26 at Creating Change: How you can make schools safer for all! We’re also co-presenters for the first ever Creating Change Lobby Day also on Thursday.
Friday through Sunday GLSEN staff and volunteers will be leading a number of workshops – on our research, our best practices for youth/adult work, safe schools policy work, and the Day of Silence. You can also find GLSEN staff and volunteers at our table in the exhibition hall. If you’re going to be at the conference, please stop by our presentations to learn more about the work you can do or come by our display to say hi. We’d love to see you!
If you haven’t registered yet – sign up now at www.creatingchange.org.
Schools Focus: How you can make schools safer for all!
Thursday, January 26
Are you a youth or adult interested in making a difference in the schools in your community? Come to this day-long institute to learn about the current state of LGBT issues in schools across the country and what you can do to make a difference. Whether you interact daily with a school community or are an interested bystander who wants to get involved, we’ll share tools for you to advocate for and implement effective evidence-based interventions at the state and local level both personally and by providing information and resources to others. Appropriate for any who are interested in safer schools – whether you’ve been doing the work already for years or are just preparing to dive in. (If you’re more experienced, please be prepared to share some of your best practices in discussion sessions.) Organized and presented by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.
The Task Force Lobby Day
Thursday, January 26
The Task Force Lobby Day will be an incredible way to participate in the political process and to make our voices heard by congressional members. This will give grassroots and community activists a stimulating opportunity to help create change at the federal level.
We will explain why workplace fairness, safe schools and anti-violence services are tremendous concerns for LGBT people. The “How to Effectively Lobby Your Member of Congress” portion of the day will include message training on the legislation and role-play visits to give participants a chance to practice messages. Thousands of everyday people will share their stories to persuade their Members of Congress to support and co-sponsor inclusive-and-focused LGBT legislation. We encourage individuals of all experience levels to sign up for Lobby Day. First-time citizen lobbyists are welcome and encouraged! We will board buses from Baltimore and have lunch on the road to Washington, DC.
Federal Efforts to Achieve Safer Schools
Saturday, January 28 – 6:30 – 7:30 pm
This workshop will examine current federal efforts around safe schools legislation, specifically related to anti-bullying and anti-harassment legislation. The importance of such legislation will be discussed, as well as current status, likely legislative vehicles, and the role participants can play in advocating for legislation to create safe schools.
2-4-6-8 Get Ready to Evaluate!: Practical Program Evaluation for the LGBT Activist
Saturday, January 28 - 10:45 am - 12:15 pm
This workshop will introduce common evaluation concepts, provide strategies to help you assess your work, and explore how sharing your evaluation findings can help further the LGBTQ movement. Participants will gain practice using evaluation tools and explore cost-effective, feasible ways to evaluate your activities.
Day of Silence Session
Saturday, January 28 - 10:45 am - 12:15 pm
Calling all K-12 student organizers and adult allies! Come learn about and prepare for the National Day of Silence, the largest annual LGBT-student action in the country, designed to bring attention to and action against anti-LGBT bias, bullying and harassment in K-12 schools! Participants will leave the workshop with a thorough understanding of the action and how to successfully implement it in their school and/or community.
January 04, 2015
My name is Carly, I'm a student ambassador for GLSEN, and an 8th grader in Arizona.
Since my mom is an ally, I've been an ally for basically as long as I can remember. In fact, I don't think I could imagine that not being a part of my life. And for as long as I've been an ally, the question I've been asked the most has always been “Why?” “Why do you care so much about gay people if you're straight yourself?”
Well, there are several answers to that question. First of all, I believe a lack of acceptance and an attitude of intolerance is one of the biggest issues our society faces, and one that has been the root cause of some of the most tragic events in history. In this case, anti-LGBT bullying, homophobia, and heterosexism in schools have caused tragedies. It has caused the tragedy of talented, bright kids not achieving the success they could be in school or even dropping out because they are too afraid of being harassed to focus on academic success. It has caused hundreds of teens to suffer from anxiety or depression every year. In short, anti-LGBT bullying is a common and extremely serious problem. And I don't want to just sit by and watch it wreck a ton of amazing young people's lives. That's probably the biggest part of why I'm an ally—I think it's just the right thing to do.
Besides that, I strongly believe that anti-LGBT bullying does not only negatively impact the LGBT community, but also an environment in which no once can feel comfortable being who they are and expressing themselves, for fear of being judged, labeled, bullied, or harassed. These kind of hostile surroundings, where everyone is more worried about not becoming a victim then they are about doing well in school or life, is not conducive to a healthy learning environment or a healthy person. As an ally, it is my hope that one day, everyone will be able to go to school and just be themselves and focus on being the best they can be. I want to wake up in a world where people are free from gender stereotypes that stifle their ability to lead the life they want to.
Ultimately, I believe the quote that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” is true, and I don't want to take the side of bullying. Allies are in a position to “be the change,” as GLSEN says. They have the opportunity to break down the walls between LGBT students and their straight peers that often lead to a feeling of isolation for the LGBT students. To be a voice for people who are in the closet and can't speak up for themselves, be a supporter for people who are coming out or need somebody to talk to, and fight along side all the wonderful LGBT youth who have worked to achieve safer and more inclusive schools.
Being an ally is something I would encourage everyone to do, because although you may face some challenges, I have had so many great experiences and met so many amazing people because of being an ally. And at the end of the day, I feel really proud to be a part of a movement that involves people of all different sexual orientations and gender identities, joined together for a great cause.