When I got the news this morning, I wasn’t sure if I was still dreaming: it appears that GLSEN has finished in second place in the Pepsi Refresh voting, winning $250,000 in support of our Safe Space Campaign. The official announcement of the results won’t take place until Feb. 23, but it looks as if we’ve done it.
Whatever the final results, I feel like GLSEN has already received something priceless – the outpouring of support from individuals and organizations standing with us in the last few days of the contest, generating a flood of votes that put us over the top. Our friends at The Progressive Slate, the coalition we joined as the voting started, were amazed by the GLSEN groundswell in the final days. It is really humbling, and my colleagues and I are so grateful.
This funding is going to a truly critical effort to make schools more welcoming places for LGBT students and any student dealing with anti-LGBT bias. The Safe Space Kits at the heart of our campaign make it possible for school staff to be visible as a source of support by putting up a Safe Space sticker or poster, and active as an agent of change by reaching out to their colleagues to discuss how the school community can come together to be truly safe and supportive for all students. Research has consistently demonstrated that supportive adults in a school community are crucial for a student’s well-being and success, and this funding will help promote adult support for LGBT students in 10,000 schools across the country.
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