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GLSEN to honor GSA and EDUCATOR
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Joanna Cifredo – GLSEN Media Relations Manager
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GLSEN TO HONOR E.O. GREEN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL GSA, PRISM, AND EDUCATOR STEPHANIE BYERS
AT 2018 GLSEN RESPECT AWARDS – NEW YORK
Respect Awards Gala to Take Place on Monday, May 21st in New York City
New York, NY (April 18, 2018) – GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth, today announced they will honor E.O. Green Junior High School GSA, PRISM as GSA of the Year, and Stephanie Byers as Educator of the Year, at the 2018 GLSEN Respect Awards – New York.
This year’s gala will take place on Monday, May 21st at Cipriani 42nd Street. The evening will honor:
E.O. Green Junior High School GSA, PRISM, GSA of the Year
In 2008, E.O. Green Junior High School was struck by tragedy when 15-year-old Lawrence Fobes "Larry" King (January 13, 1993 – February 13, 2008) was murdered in their classroom by a fellow student. King, who often went by “Leticia,” was shot twice for being gender nonconforming and expressing romantic feelings towards their male classmate.
A decade later, E.O. Green Junior High School's GSA, PRISM, has a thriving student club devoted to creating a safe, diverse, and inclusive school community for all. Learning from the lessons of the past, this group of students has worked to create a welcoming place where students of all genders and sexualities can feel safe and learn.
“The impact that the E.O. Green Junior High School GSA has had in its first year is remarkable. They’ve already convinced the school to add all gender restrooms and have engaged the school community through participation in Ally Week, No Name-Calling Week, and the Day of Silence. Their work is part of the amazing wave of youth-led advocacy happening in middle and junior high schools across the country,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director. “All the more striking is the backdrop to their achievements. Ten years ago, E.O. Green was the site of an unspeakable tragedy that garnered international attention, when a classmate murdered Larry King in class. Since then, the school has been on a long journey. Today, it has nurtured the leadership of this dynamic group of youth advocates, and the future is looking brighter and brighter.”
In the short time of the GSA’s existence, they have successfully advocated for transgender students’ rights and continue to work towards making their school community safer, more diverse, and more inclusive every day.
“Our club is devoted to educating our community, and creating a positive school and classroom climate that develops empathy and respect through meetings and events open to all students and families,” said Olivia Strohman, GSA Advisor to E. O. Green Junior High School GSA, PRISM.
On-campus events have included: weekly GSA meetings, GLSEN No-Name Calling Week,Day of Silence, Kindness Week, California Teachers Association Day of Action, AIDS LifeCycle event, Rainbow Hornet Day (in memory of Larry/Leticia King), and participation in Hornet Club Day, California Junior Scholarship Foundation service projects, and Associated Student Body events. Also, PRISM works to create awareness and to increase acceptance through their daily interactions with members of their school community.
Stephanie Byers, Educator of the Year
Stephanie Byers was born to biracial parents (Native American/Caucasian) in 1963. She holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Kansas State University. In 1991, she began her current position of Instrumental Music Educator at one of Kansas’ largest, most diverse high schools, Wichita High School North (a Title 1 school).
In 2014, she came out as a transgender woman. Since transitioning, she has advocated at the State Capitol, meeting with local administrators to advocate for the needs of transgender students. Since then, she's met with and spoken to LGBTQ youth, participated on panels for the “National Day of Coming Out,” chaperoned the GLSEN Greater Wichita’s “Day of Advocacy,” and trained future physicians around transgender health care. She has educated colleagues, students, and area parents about transgender identity. She and her wife, Lori Haas, frequently present a “Trans 101” workshop to therapists and others behavioral health professionals and are developing an Educator Training with the local GLSEN chapter.
“In a deeply red state where schools are critically under-resourced, Stephanie Byers has had a long career as a dedicated and exceptional educator both before and after her transition. Since coming out as transgender, Stephanie has continued to excel as a teacher while also becoming an outspoken leader for safe and inclusive schools and a beacon of light to hundreds of transgender youth and their parents across Kansas,” said Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director. “Stephanie is a champion for LGBTQ youth in the classroom, during school board meetings, and in the state capitol, working with GLSEN Greater Wichita to secure students’ right to a safe and affirming learning environment. In her brave dedication, Stephanie is a shining example for LGBTQ youth, and a reminder to us all, of the difference educators everywhere, can make in the lives of students. We are honored to present Stephanie Byers with GLSEN’s 2018 Educator of the Year Award.”
The GLSEN Respect Awards were introduced in 2004 and have since been held annually in Los Angeles and New York. The award show honors the work of student leaders, educators, community organizers, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of LGBTQ youth. Past New York Respect Awards honorees include Ilene Chaiken, Jason Collins, Carla Gugino, Matthew Morrison, and George Stephanopoulos and Alexandra Wentworth; Corporate Ally Award winners include First Data, Blue 449, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, and JPMorgan & Chase Co. The GLSEN Respect Awards – New York will welcome approximately 600 guests, including outstanding youth leaders and educators from around the country, and raise more than $1 million in support of GLSEN’s work.
GLSEN has led the way on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education since1990. Through ground-breaking original research, innovative program development, educator training, student organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work. With the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs likeGLSEN’s Day of Silence, GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week, and GLSEN’s Ally Week.
Tickets for the Respect Awards are available now. For additional information, please visit www.glsen.org/events.