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A Note from Kevin Jennings
It is with great excitement that I invite you to the 4th Annual Respect Awards - Los Angeles.
I am excited because the event promises to be our best yet, as we honor Lance Bass, Disney-ABC Television Group, and Darren Star for their leadership in helping create safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Each has truly fought to make Respect the "Fourth R" we teach in schools and I am privileged to be able to honor them.
This year's Respect Awards take place in the shadow of horrifying events that have happened in greater Los Angeles since last year's dinner. As you probably know, 8th grader Lawrence King was gunned down in his English class at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, California on Feb. 12 by a bully who repeatedly targeted him because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. Lawrence's tragic death is a shocking reminder of the continued need for our work and of how very far we still have to go before school is a truly safe place for every child.
This will be my last Respect Awards -- Los Angeles, as I am stepping down as GLSEN's Executive Director on October 31. I founded GLSEN as an all-volunteer group in 1990 and became its first employee in 1994. After nearly two decades leading this fight, I now look forward to being a supporting player as new leadership carries GLSEN's work forward. The 2008 Respect Awards will be my chance to thank the folks who have enabled us to build GLSEN from a core of three volunteers in Boston in 1990 to a national organization with a presence in all 50 states. My gratitude to all of you is indescribable as well.
I hope to see you all on Friday, October 10.