SPLC visits Sunserve!

rainbow flagLast night at Youth Group, Ashley Jackson from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)  came to talk to our group about who she is, what she does, and the achievements that SPLC has been involved in. She set up a PowerPoint slide and after the question of the week went around (one place you’d love to visit) her presentation started.

She gave us some history of the SPLC and showed us that her Montgomery office overlooks the church that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others planned the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She told us about the famous cases that SPLC helped win.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center has taken legal action to protect LGBT students. This includes litigation against school policy that creates an atmosphere hostile to LGBT students or otherwise isolates these students for harassment. Anti-gay policies and actions that infringe on the free expression and privacy rights of LGBT students are another focus of this work. Outside the classroom, the Southern Poverty Law Center focuses on the treatment of LGBT youth in juvenile and foster care facilities.”

“At my high school we had kids who were suspended for cross-dressing.”

“I get bullied for being a boy who likes to wear nail polish.”  The room fell silent, and you could see on everyone’s faces the memories of not so long ago when they found themselves in similar situations.

She was adamant about taking notes when we shared our stories with her about harassment in our school or even at home.

“We’re here to help people, that’s really what we do.”

Everyone in  group loved her and wanted to know more about the things that they could do to help get involved. Then, she rolled out the pizza boxes. She had actually spent her own money to buy the whole group pizza! I think we were all ecstatic.

If you’re interested in what they do and how you can help, here’s their website:

http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/lgbt-rights

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Have a great week, see you next Tuesday night!

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