Since 2005 the Students of Color Organizing Summit (SOCO) has been one of GLSEN's signature student leadership events. It brought LGBT and allied students of color from around the country during Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend in Atlanta for three days of community and skill-building in a space where they could acknowledge the unique challenges of doing Safe Schools work as people of color. SOCO participants developed lasting bonds with each other and some went on to complete internships with GLSEN.
In 2009 GLSEN began to rethink how to extend the impact of SOCO geographically and to build more sustainable and enduring relationships between its participants and GLSEN. Hence: SOCO 2.0. This academic year a series of one-day SOCO summits have been scheduled in three cities across the country; Baltimore, Seattle and Phoenix. Local Chapters and GLSEN National are working closely to ensure that each summit reflects the unique character of each location and to ensure that students stay connected to the Chapter beyond the event.
The new incarnation of SOCO began on September 25th in Baltimore, Maryland. The action-packed day of workshops was attended by 15 LGBT and allied students and adult allies of color attended. Workshop topics included LGBT 101, looking at intersection of identities and oppressions, community organizing and creating an inclusive Safe Schools movement. During lunch, Reverend Meredith Moises delivered a keynote address about the importance of grounding oneself amidst the challenges of activism. Participants asked keen questions and truly "showed up" in sharing their experiences in their schools and beyond. By the end of the day, nearly everyone said they felt energized, educated and motivated.
The next two SOCO 2.0 series meetings will be held in Seattle and Phoenix. Local students and allies of color in these two areas who are interested in attending should contact email@example.com.