In celebration of Pride Month, we’re shining a light on two KIPP regions with clubs that create spaces where students can freely express their identities, find support, and foster a sense of belonging. In a world that still grapples with discrimination and prejudice, LGBTQIA+ clubs provide a refuge for those who may feel marginalized or misunderstood, promoting personal growth and mental well-being. These clubs play an essential role in combating discrimination, encouraging students’ empathy, respect, and equality. Learn more about the work both groups are doing in their respective schools below.
Rainbow Education Alliance for Diverse Individuals (The READI Club) – KIPP NJ Public Schools
The READI Club (Rainbow Education Alliance for Diverse Individuals) is a vibrant and inclusive space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their supporters to gather and foster a sense of understanding and safety within school. For some students the group has been a lifeline after navigating the pandemic. Through a range of activities, such as healing circles, community service events, mentorship programs, fundraisers, parties, and celebrations, the club creates an environment where everyone feels welcome. One of its key objectives is to educate and increase knowledge about gender and sexuality, covering topics like bodily vocabulary, puberty, and navigating healthy relationships, while shedding light on both hetero and LGBTQIA+ history.
The club actively encourages partnerships and support from individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+, cisgender/sexuality, and those who are curious, aiming to dismantle harmful and oppressive practices. Thus far, the club has organized various impactful initiatives, including:
- LGBTQIA+ Homeless Shelter Drives during Thanksgiving and Christmas
- Black History Month Showcase Performances
- Engaging TikTok Challenges
- LGBTQIA+ focused Kahoot!, and board games
- School decorations with student-made art and flyers
- Safe Space Talking Circles that delve into important discussions surrounding the intersectionality of identity.
Additionally, the club has implemented a Lower and Upper School Mentorship/Buddy program to foster meaningful connections and support systems among students. To celebrate the achievements and identities of the students, the club plans to highlight queer students’ accomplishments, organize trips to queer community resource centers in Newark, host educational movie days, hold a ball or dance, facilitate art and collaborative projects, and partake in vibrant PRIDE month celebrations. By providing an array of experiences and opportunities, the READI Club strives to promote acceptance, empowerment, and inclusivity within the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.
Genders and Sexualities Alliance – KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools
The mission of the Genders and Sexuality Alliance is to work for a more accepting environment for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, through education, support, social action, and advocacy. The GSA currently has about 20 members and meets biweekly on Tuesday or Thursday mornings and occasionally after school. They fulfill their mission by creating a community for students who are questioning their gender/sexuality and by holding space for those who simply don’t know or understand the complex array of gender presentation and sexual orientations. The alliance seeks to educate students and staff on the struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community and the history of queer/trans erasure to ensure that the troubling events of the past don’t repeat themselves. Ultimately, the group seeks to increase awareness and empathy while decreasing the othering/demonization of LGBTQIA+ groups that often develops out of fear and misunderstanding.
This year, the alliance held a Thrift Shop fundraiser in partnership with Lost & Found Youth a local organization that centers LGBTQ+ youth.
The group also held an educational panel called “KAC Queer & A,” where students could ask queer/trans-Black adults about coming to terms with their identity and navigating prejudice in social/professional settings.
Learn more about KIPP Public Schools here.