Items of note: local and national

I have nothing of interest to share about the upcoming mid-term elections, since (1) my relationship to matters political is less in the electoral and more in the cultural realms, and the best I can do is follow the former and try hard to have a positive impact on the latter; and (2) I am still at least a fortnight away from the end of a never-ending household revamp which has sucked up all my discretionary time, and therefore the very bloggy life out of me. It’s a miracle I can even find my glasses each morning.

(Utterly non-sequitorial aside: for Halloween I’m going to dress up as a contractor and scare the living shit out of the middle class home-owning grown-ups in the neighborhood by waving around a DeWalt cordless drill and threatening to encamp in their household for a few months, during which time I’ll keep telling them “It’s all going to be wrapped up soon,” and then I’ll laugh maniacally and say “Kidding! The floor guy just backed his truck up into the sheet rock guy, and they’re both tied up in small claims court! It’ll all be another three months, minimum! Bwahahaha!”)

Okay but no, still, one tries, if fitfully.  In that spirit, please note details on the following, after the jump: California Progressive Voter Guide from Courage Campaign; a Friday night march and rally in San Francisco to focus on LGBT youth suicide and homelessness, and a reminder about two critical bills needing the support of your elected representatives in Congress: Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

1. CA Progressive Voter Guide

Here’s Courage Campaign’s ever-helpful Progressive Voter Guide for the upcoming elections:

Do note, fellow Californians, that the sane vote on Prop 23 is not merely NO, but “HELL, NO!” I take this verbatim from the page from which the guide itself comes. Yours for the distribution.

2. San Francisco Rally and March to Focus on LGBT Youth Suicide and Homelessness

I got this media advisory in from EQCA today and want to pass it on to folks in the Bay Area who want to bear witness and confirm community in the wake of the recent wave of young suicides:

WHAT: Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community will rally at a candlelight vigil this Friday, October 8 to help bring awareness to the recent tragic wave of students who committed suicide because of anti-gay bullying. The event will feature speakers from Equality California, The Trevor Project, Soulforce, the Human Rights Campaign, the Family Acceptance Project, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Affirmation, and several of the people appearing in the recent documentary film “8: The Mormon Proposition.”

WHO: Andrea Shorter, Deputy Director of Marriage and Coalitions, Equality California

Leaders and members of the LGBT community

WHERE: San Francisco’s Civic Center, San Francisco, CA

WHEN: October 8, 2010 at 6:30 p.m

3. Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act

Tuesday  was National Safe Schools Day. I tried to wrest time to post on it, but couldn’t. I still want to pass along something I got that day in the email from Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Pride, the national LGBT family org.  I’d mentioned the Student Non-Discrimination Act working its way through congress, back in April when Mississippi high school student Constance McMillen was essentially banned from her school’s prom when she bought tickets to go with her girlfriend; when she went to the ACLU, the high school up and cancelled the prom rather than allow her to attend (remember that?).  Both these bills are critical to students’ safety, justice, and well-being and therefore their ability to receive the education they’re showing up to school to pursue.

Here are Jennifer Chrisler’s words, from Tuesday:

We are less than one full month into the new school year and there is an epidemic of tragic proportions happening with our LGBT youth.  We cannot let another day go by without taking action to ensure our children are safe at school!

Justin Aaberg, 15, MN Asher Brown, 13, TX Tyler Clementi, 18, NJ
Billy Lucas, 15, IN Seth Walsh, 13, CA Tyler Wilson, 11, OH

Each of these students was bullied, harassed and discriminated against because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. In some cases, parents reported the bullying to school administrators, who did nothing. In other cases, parents were unaware of the pain their child was suffering every day in school. In each case, these tragedies should have been prevented.

Family Equality Council is working to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act, two bills currently in Congress that together would prohibit bullying, harassment and discrimination of students because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or because they have LGBT parents or friends.  Studies show that LGBT children and children of LGBT parents are among the most vulnerable to bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools. Without comprehensive protections that specifically list sexual orientation and gender identity, these students are denied equal educational opportunities and are subjected to unhealthy and unsafe school environments on a daily basis. We must take action to stop our children from dying.

Today – October 5, 2010 – is National Safe Schools Day. To ensure that all children have the same opportunity to thrive – which requires that they feel safe, supported and valued in school – help us to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act (in the House and Senate) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (in the House and Senate) by contacting your legislators and asking them to co-sponsor both of these bills today!

If your child has been the victim of bullying, harassment or discrimination in school, please let us know. Submit your story. Real stories help us to convince legislators that action is desperately needed.

As a mother of twin 8 year olds, I can think of nothing more tragic than the death of a child.  My heart goes out to every parent whose child has been the victim of bullying, harassment and torment.  And as a parent, I vow to do everything I can every single day to protect my children and every child in school.  That’s why I will be making these calls today and why you should join me.

Help us to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act so that we can make our schools safe for all of our children.

Thank you on behalf of vulnerable students everywhere!

Jennifer signature

Jennifer Chrisler
Executive Director

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