The Bay Area Youth Summit
(BAYS) is an event hosted by Aragon High’s Gay/Straight Alliance in San
Mateo, CA on Saturday, April 23, 2011. The main topic of this important
summit will be about bullies, and the many ways you can effectively
stand up to them and make sure your school is a safe one. The organizing
committee, mostly comprised of youth, will offer up other important
information such as running an effective Gay-Straight Alliance club but
the focus will be how you can help perhaps save the life of your friend.
The Bay Area Youth Summit is committed to giving each individual the
power to make a difference. Youth come in all different colors from a
myriad of backgrounds, and every individual deserves to have a voice.
BAYS can provide youth with the driving force needed to overcome
challenges they face in their individual communities, whether they be an
unsupportive school administration, bullies, or misunderstanding from
their peers. Rather than speaking to the LGBTQ youth community as a
whole, the Bay Area Youth Summit will serve to empower each unique
individual with the tools and knowledge needed to combat their troubles.
While plans are still in the making, the BAYS organizing committee is
excited to announce the first two major speakers who are tentatively
scheduled to participate.
Cleve Jones is an outspoken AIDS and LGBT and civil rights activist. He
conceived the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt that has become the
world’s largest piece of community folk art still today.
Jones career as an activist began in San Francisco during the turbulent
1970’s when pioneer gay rights leader Harvey Milk befriended him. He
worked as a student intern in Milk’s office while studying political
science at San Francisco State. In 1979, Milk was assassinated and Jones
to this day carries on his legacy by speaking out about equality and
standing up to injustice, including bullying in our schools and in the
Joe Wilson is a filmmaker and producer who won numerous awards for his
documentaries about social activists on human rights issues. His latest
film, Out In Silence, captures a remarkable chain of events that unfold
when the announcement of Wilson’s wedding to another man ignites a
firestorm of controversy in his small town Pennsylvania hometown.
It was a desperate mother’s pleas for help for her gay teen who was
being tormented at school in his hometown that make Wilson go back to
the town he grew up in and make the film. His friendship with the gay
teen and his mother made him realize that he had to finally stand up to
the hate he was running away from, both in his past life and the hatred
that still existed for this youth.
Youth and adult allies from within and outside of the Bay Area are
encouraged to attend this important conference. Those who attend this
summit can expect an afternoon and evening of informative content,
lively interaction, and serious discussions relevant to issues facing
youth, parents and administration of schools and communities everywhere.
There will also be plenty of time for socializing with others and of
course – a fabulous and fun dance to close the day!
The summit is scheduled from noon to 8:00pm. Beginning at 8:00pm an
optional dinner/dance will conclude the day’s events.
For more information, offer donations, or register as in individual or
GSA group, contact BAYS Executive Director and President of Aragon High
School GSA, Jason Galisatus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out our Advisory Board here.
Check out the Meet the Staff page here.
The Rev. Daniel R. Heischman, Executive Director of
the National Association of Episcopal Schools, (NAESreports the group is making
progress toward protecting LGBTQ students who attended schools
affiliated with the Episcopal Church.
“We’re pleased with the leadership role NAES is
taking to protect LGBTQ students from per bullying,” Oasis California
President Rev. Thomas C. Jackson said. “We are looking forward as they
continue to make schools safer for all our children.” In a letter to
Oasis California, Fr. Heischman writes:
Thank you so much for your letter regarding a
concern we very much share with you: the alarming rates of suicides
among gay and lesbian young people and how many of those tragedies stem
from peer bullying in schools.
NAES and its member schools have made some
important progress in this regard. I am pleased to share with you some
of these initiatives that are in process:
Ann Mellow, Associate Director of NAES wrote a piece in
our monthly newsletter, Network,
outlining important best practices for policies and procedures for
bullying in our schools, and calling in that article for member schools
to share resources. Included in that article will be a summary of the
recent letter from the US Department of Education regarding the civil
rights of all students.
The Rev. Vicki Davis, Chaplain at Grace Church School, is
developing a middle school ethics curriculum around film clips, and
included in that study guide are a number of situations focused on
The Rev. Frank Sawyer (former Chaplain at the Cathedral
School for Boys in San Francisco) and currently Chaplain at Episcopal
Day School in Augusta, GA, is completing a K-8 curriculum for our
schools on bullying.
The Rev. Keith Yamamoto, Priest-in-Charge at St. Mark's,
Upland CA, has shared with our member schools a prayer for those who
have been the victims of bullying. I will send that to you as a separate
We are pleased by this progress, yet there is much
still that needs to be done. We are more than happy to hear your
concerns on how schools can best respond, given your experience and
perspective. Our membership of 400+ schools is widely diverse, so there
is clear no "one size fits all" program for anything in our schools, but
as we evaluate how best we can be of service to our schools and to the
common good, we are eager to know what you might feel would be helpful
Oasis California is meeting with a series of
college and university Episcopal and Lutheran chaplains to learn what
LGBT students and their allies need on campus today. "We're hoping to
meet with the campus chaplain along with LGBTQ students so we can listen
to their need, hopes and suggestions," Oasis California President Rev.
Thomas C. Jackson said. "Our goal is to find ways to help meet their
needs." Chaplains at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, UC Davis, UC
Chico and SFSU are among those invited to join in the discussion. "We're
talking with chaplains who are in our diocese and the Sierra Pacific
Synod of the ECLA to gain a representative idea of needs and
opportunities," Jackson added.
Gets Better" campaign on
giving hope to young people facing homophobic bullying, harassment and
thoughts of suicide.
We are calling on Oasis congregations across the
Bay Area to help "It
Gets Better” illustrate the love that is available to the LGBTQ
teens from the affirming religious community. For LGBT clergy, you can
submit an "It
Gets Better” video. Or you might help an out LGBT person in your
congregation record one. Or you might do both of these steps. Harvey was
right: “We have to give ‘em hope.” And we need to do that today.
Sign the Clergy
Against Bullying Statement
Oasis California calls on Clergy and lay leaders across the Diocese of
California to join in a a groundbreaking alliance of faith group leaders and call on “the Church
Universal to join us in working to end the violence and hatred against our
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.”
“We are asking all faith colleagues, LGBT and
straight alike, to go online and
sign the Clergy Against Bullying statement
and to work toward safe space for all God's children in our churches,”
said the Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson. “Too often, young people who are
gay, transgender or questioning fear judgmental church people. This
statement by Clergy Against Bullying will help us all tell the story of the
One who came not to judge or condemn but to love us. Today we are
saying to every child who is different in any way: ‘You are safe in the arms
of God; you are safe with our congregations."
More info here.
Resolution to Stop Bullying in San Diego Schools Starts -
when will this start in your Bay Area school district?
California Faith for Equality (CFE) has taken a leadership role in
bringing an resolution forward to the Board of the San Diego Unified
School District to protect students from bullying. Their move came
before the School Board voted tonight at their regularly scheduled meeting on a resolution
to create “Safer Schools for All Students.”
Samuel Chu, CFE’s Executive Director, has sent letters to all five
board members, urging them to vote for the measure. “As an immigrant, I
know what it is like to be bullied in the schoolyard because you are
different,” said Chu. “As a pastor, I know the harm we do when we deny
someone’s the fullness of their God-given, sacred humanity. As a
straight person who serves the largest religious network working for
LGBTQ equality, I know the violence that has been done in the name of
God and “faith”.
More on CFE's San Digo effort here.
An open letter to religious leaders on gay youth
suicides: it's time to act out loud
October 11th is National Coming Out Day, a day
that encourages gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT)
people to publicly state who they are. In light of the at least five
gay youth who killed themselves in September, it's time for us to
come together as religious leaders and say, "Enough."
I'm hoping that next weekend from your pulpits you will come out
with your support for GLBT youth and adults.
Yes, you. Studies show that almost six in ten clergy from mainline
denominations support the full inclusion and acceptance of LGBT
persons, yet more than eight in ten of us know that our faith
communities are capable of becoming more understanding and helpful
towards gay teens or those struggling with questions about their
sexual orientation or gender identity. Other studies have found that
eight in ten of even the most progressive clergy don't have programs
in their congregations to support LGBT youth. It is past time for us
to "Act Out Loud."
Discuss at our
Facebook page or by e-mail or conversation with Oasis President
Tom Jackson at the Diocesan Convention or by