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Youth Empowerment Summit to Address Bullying

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jackie Downing
415-552-4229

YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SUMMIT TO ADDRESS BULLYING

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hosted by Gay-Straight Alliance Network

SAN FRANCISCO – Over 400 LGBTQ youth and straight allies will descend upon Horace Mann Middle School in San Francisco for a free conference to learn new skills and meet other young people working to overcome homophobia and transphobia at school on Saturday, December 11th.

Rochelle Hamilton, a student who won a settlement against the Vallejo Unified School District for harassment and discrimination she experienced at her high school will keynote. “I would never wish what happened to me on anyone.  But because it did, I’m doing what I can to stand up for all the other LGBT students who deserve to be able to be themselves at school without being afraid of discrimination and harassment,” said Rochelle Hamilton.

In addition, the Family Acceptance Project, will screen their new film “Always My Son,” a moving documentary of a Mexican-American family, a Marine dad and their gay son.  Finally, Gay-Straight Alliance Network will present the Make It Better Project, a new initiative to stop bullying and make schools safer.  The opening speeches begin at 9:30 a.m.

The Youth Empowerment Summit (YES) is a free annual conference hosted by Gay-Straight Alliance Network to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning and straight ally youth dedicated to fostering safe schools for all students.  The conference is planned by youth and for youth.  Teachers, parents, and other allies are also invited to participate.

"I’m so proud to have helped organize this conference so students like me can learn how to start and run a Gay-Straight Alliance club and make schools safer,” said Max Philp, 17, a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School and Co-President of his school’s GSA club.

“YES empowers students by providing resources, tools, and the chance to connect with other youth activists fighting discrimination and bullying at school,” said Carolyn Laub, GSA Network’s Executive Director.  “Online registration for the conference is up 75% this year, reflecting the increased attention on bullying and school safety in light of recent news headlines about LGBT youth suicides.”

YES will include workshops like “Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention,” “Know Your Rights,” “How to Have a Kick-Ass GSA Club,” and the “Make It Better Project.” 

•    YES runs from 9:00-5:00 and will be followed by a youth-only dance from 5:00-8:00 p.m.
•    Horace Mann Middle School is located at 3351 23rd Street in San Francisco.
•    Visit www.gsanetwork.org/yes for more information.

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GSA Network empowers youth to fight homophobia and transphobia in school by training youth activists and supporting student-led Gay-Straight Alliance clubs.
 

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