The National Youth Advocacy Coalition Launches the First-Ever “National LGBTQ Youth Awareness Week” on May 25th
WASHINGTON The National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC) — the national social justice organization working exclusively to strengthen LGBTQ youth advocacy is pleased to announce the first-ever “National LGBTQ Youth Awareness Week,” to run May 25 - 29, 2009.
The five-day Awareness Week is designed to highlight some of the significant issues faced by today’s LGBTQ youth, empower them to continue their involvement in solution-making, and to honor the many allies and programs that are working to support LGBTQ young adults in the face of disenfranchisement and discrimination. As part of the Awareness Week, NYAC, and the more than 2,500 youth-serving organizations that it works with, will coordinate activities and programs aimed at raising awareness about youth issues within the broader LGBTQ movement.
“Without question, we have seen great advances for our community from the passage of hate crimes legislation in the U.S. House to marriage equality in the states, but I worry that the needs of LGBTQ youth may get lost in all the commotion and excitement of the times,” said Gregory Varnum, executive director for NYAC. “My excitement about our advances is bitter-sweet when I think about the youth who continue to commit suicide because of anti-gay bullying in schools.”
National LGBTQ Awareness Week will offer activists and community leaders various ways to participate, including becoming involved in advancing federal legislation important to LGBTQ youth; participating in webinars during the week that focus on LGBTQ youth issues; and offering tips on how organizations serving LGBTQ youth can fundraise and get youth voices heard within the broader LGBTQ rights movement.
In order to focus attention on the wide range of issues impacting youth, NYAC has announced a different theme for each day of National LGBTQ Youth Awareness Week:
- Monday, May 25: Honoring the Silenced LGBTQ Youth Serving in the Military
- Tuesday, May 26: Putting An End to Violence Aimed at LGBTQ Youth
- Wednesday, May 27: Addressing the Crisis of LGBTQ Youth Homelessness
- Thursday, May 28: Creating Safe Schools and Community Spaces for LGBTQ Youth
- Friday, May 29: Providing LGBTQ Youth with Resources to Stay Healthy
“LGBTQ youth across the United States are an active, but sometimes overlooked, segment of our community,” said NYAC board member Daniel O¹Connor, 18, who is also co-chair of NYAC¹s Youth Accountability Council. “I’m excited that NYAC is bringing focus to our voices with LGBTQ Youth Awareness Week. I’m also happy that this week will be used to put the spotlight on the smaller-scale organizations that offer services to youth, as many of these organizations are going through difficult times at the moment.”
NYAC is hoping to leverage youth enthusiasm into a national call to action.
“Last year we saw a remarkable amount of activism by queer youth during the presidential election,” explained Varnum. “We believe that enthusiasm has to be nurtured and built upon; by educating young people about the issues and the ways that they can get involved, we help to build the next generation of LGBTQ leaders, who will ultimately win the fight for full LGBTQ equality.”
To learn more about National LGBTQ Youth Awareness Week, visit www.awareness.nyacyouth.org
About The National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC): NYAC is a social justice organization that advocates for and with young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning in an effort to end discrimination against these youth and to ensure their physical and emotional well being. For more information, please visit www.nyacyouth.org.