As a former GSA activist and GSA Network Alumni myself, I'm always interested to hear what my fellow GSA youth activists are up to now as adults. It's great to hear how people have been inspired by their GSA experience and continue to give back to the community. I'm happy to share Jennifer's story with you.
From GSA Youth Activist to GSA Advisor
Jennifer Pardini, who graduated from Carlmont High School in Belmont in 2001, got her start in LGBTQ activism through her GSA.
“Through involvement with GSA Network during high school and my early college years, I was able to network and collaborate with other queer youth from all over the bay area. These people help me develop my values and ideas that I still hold today. “
GSA alumni carry their activism work onward long after they graduate from high school.
Today, alumni Jennifer Pardini is a high school French teacher and continues her GSA activism as a GSA advisor.
“I am currently co-advisor for the GSA at Washington High School in Fremont, CA. I co-wrote a grant to the California Teachers Association (CTA) for our GSA, which we won and which helped our GSA attend the Queer Youth Advocacy Day in 2009. I advise great youth, including an awesome artist who made T-shirts for Day of Silence. I bring LGBTQ issues into the classroom by showing GroundSpark films alongside French films like ‘Ma Vie En Rose’, which deal with issues of gender identity and family. Among teachers, I’m on the human rights committee of our union, and I’m helping to prepare an LGBTQ training and teacher screening of ‘Straightlaced’ for other teachers next fall.”
For her work, Jennifer was honored with a Human Rights Award by the CTA for her activism. There is still much more work to be done. Concerning the recent decision of the Fremont High School District to not recognize Harvey Milk Day, Jennifer reflected, “I’m really surprised the school board is going in this direction. The union and the teachers have so much support for Harvey Milk Day. I have hope though because middle school students are starting to reach out to me, excited about joining the GSA in high school next year.”
Thanks to Jennifer, GSA students have GSA Alumni to look up to as role models in their schools. Are you a GSA alumnus? Share your story with us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!