“Everything Rainbow” was a movement my teammate and I created in order to fight for LGBTQ+ rights and health in our school and community. There is huge normalization of homophobic language at our school and lack of empathy which became the focus and target when organizing and planning. My teammate and I created and organized a lesson plan that would both inform middle schoolers on the inclusivity of the LGBTQ community but also challenge them to question their power and role regarding the safety of our school. The lesson plan involved a presentation and a “step forward” activity. Doing these presentations was a process that sparked the passion inside of us to become and continue being upstanders. Being an upstander to me means being an ally. It means recognizing my power and realizing I have to do something with it in order to help and advocate for those in need. Because of this realization and new meaning, something new I have learned about myself is that their is too much passion, anger, and opinions I have to keep them inside. Keeping it inside would be selfish because they are the fuel to my activism and fight that target all the different communities I am apart of and that are around me. Because of this, I have many ideas for my next steps as an upstander. For example, I will help create a GSA in the middle school at my school and just keep promoting the importance of GSA and having one. I will create more lesson plans for different groups of people like teachers, parents, and different grade levels. I will hold people accountable for their lack of empathy weather it is through language or violence because the normalization of homophobia has no right to continue. Lastly, I will continue to educate myself through programs and organizations because there is always room to grow and learn and I am so excited to do so. For those who are looking for ways to become upstanders too, educate yourself! You cannot fight for an issue you don’t understand or aren’t willing to learn about. Because education is a priority, listening should be too. How will we learn if we are not listening to those around us? Additionally, recognize your privilege! Everyone has some sort of privilege but what matters is what we do with it. Lastly, make room for others. Your experience matters and is valid but so is the one of the person next to you. Your story is not the only one and each person deserves to tell their own. Because of this, remember that fights, aren’t always meant to be fought alone. Do not be afraid to ask for help! The more voices there is, the louder we are. Make your voice heard, someone will listen!

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May 16, 2019 11:18 pm

Dear Judith,
I am amazed with your post, “Becoming an Upstander,” because of how much passion and effort you seem to have put in this campaign. One sentence that really stood out to be was: “recognize your privilege.” From my experience, I have learned that people often forget that they have this immense privilege of being able to create change, which gets in the way when we are actually trying to put forth a movement. I find your post very inspiring as it is not often, in any of the schools I have gone to, that people have the courage to start a campaign, especially when the majority of the students are against it as you said. I see a very bright future for your movement, and I hope that you can change the mindset of those students who lack empathy and use offensive language towards the LGBTQ community. Starting a campaign with two people in front of an entire school is an accomplishment in itself. My teammates and I are also starting a campaign in regards to the LGBTQ community and their rights in the healthcare system so if you ever wanna check it out here’s the link:https://lgbtqhealthcare.home.blog/. Thank you for writing and I look forward to seeing what you will write next!

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