By Focus Staff
Parents, teachers and community members here and across the country are standing up to state legislative efforts targeting transgender people on Feb. 28 with readings of “I Am Jazz”, a book by transgender teen and Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings.
The book reading, sponsored by The STAND Movement, will be held at 6:00 pm on Thursday, Feb. 28 at Southeast Library, 5260 Hickory Hollow Pkwy Antioch, TN 37013. The Beta Mu Chapter of Beta Phi Omega Sorority, Incorporated, HRC Nashville and PFLAG are community partners. Dr. Marisa Richmond and Metro Nashville Education Association Vice President Terrie Wagner will be reading to students as well as other local community leaders and volunteers. Children and students of all ages welcome! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
The fourth annual Jazz and Friends National Day of School and Community Readings is sponsored by the Welcoming Schools Program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, and the National Educational Association (NEA), the country’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3 million educators across the U.S. This year, participants will have the option of reading from several books about transgender and non-binary youth of color, including “Julián Is a Mermaid” by Jessica Love and “They She He Me: Free to Be!” by Maya and Matthew Smith Gonzalez.
The nationwide action is inspired by the more than 600 residents of tiny Mount Horeb, WI, who unequivocally rebuked bigotry and censorship in 2015, showing up at a public reading of “I Am Jazz”. The reading was organized by a caring parent after legal threats by an anti-LGBTQ hate group forced a local school to cancel plans to support a transgender student by reading the book in class.
Days later, the Mount Horeb school board adopted inclusive measures fully accommodating transgender students. Said one board member: “We will not be intimidated, and we will teach tolerance and will be accepting to everyone.”
The national reading effort is sponsored by HRC Foundation’sWelcoming Schools program and the National Education Association (NEA). It unites in action youth, educators, and allies across the country who are hosting readings of “I Am Jazz” in dozens of schools, churches, bookstores, homes, and community centers in states across the country.
HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier resource for professional development tools, lessons and resources that help elementary schools across the nation embrace family diversity, be LGBTQ-inclusive, prevent bias-based bullying and gender stereotyping, and support transgender and gender-expansive students. HRC’s Welcoming Schools has created this guide to help organizers of “I Am Jazz” reading events build more affirming and supportive spaces for transgender and gender-expansive youth across the country.