Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Monday, April 4, 2011

Last night I had an opportunity to the check out the Student of Color Organizing Conference here in Phoenix. Sponsored by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), this event was created for people of color that are LGBT high school students or allies. It was open for attendance by any student interested in becoming a community organizer. I naturally get excited about any event held for LGBT people of color and gave the local GLSEN a phone call to offer my assistance in anyway. Although I would not be apart of any of the training or learning of the day, I was able to participate in the best part, the closing dinner.

Yes, it was fun to walk in just as the food was being served but that was not why this was the best part. I say this was the best time because it was during the dinner that all the students that attended had an opportunity to share. Individuals around the room stood and shared what they learned during the event, what they will take away from the event, and what they will do now as a result of the event. All of the students on hand talked about how phenomenal the experience was. It was a pleasure for me to hear this because I’ll be the first to admit, I’d been getting a bit afraid of what the future holds for the LGBT community, specifically for LGBT communities of color. I was under the impression that the only thing young queer kids today are thinking about are Beyonce, fashion and serving attitude. Every time I think I hear something almost profound by one of the many youth I periodically encounter, it always seems to be followed by a “BITCH!”

I left the conference a bit more encouraged about the future of my community. These kids were smart, articulate, socially conscience and talented. Following the dinner the kids had a chance to take part in an “open mic” if they were so inclined to participate. Several kids shared their own poetry and one young kid braved the mic (inspite of his obvious nerves) and sang.

Following the dinner I had an opportunity to network with some of the folks of GLSEN (from the local chapter and from the national chapter), some phenomenal individuals from the ACLU and a couple of great folks from P-FLAG. It was great being able to hold real conversations about relevant issues. I always find it taxing when I'm trying to talk to someone and the only thing they're able to discuss at length is what's happening on Top Model or American Idol.

I’m riding on an emotional high following this conference. I personally want to thank the GLSEN organizers for creating a safe place for LGBT students of color. They enjoyed it and they learned a lot. lso I enjoyed it and I’m a bit more hopeful as a result.

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