10th Annual Great Lakes Peace Jam Youth Conference with Rigoberta Menchu Tum
Our youth continue to teach us just how difficult daily life can be for someone who self-identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community. Bullying, discrimination, beatings, teasing......these are the basic facts for many young people in our families and communities.
At our 10th Annual Youth Conference, where over 140 youth came together to celebrate their experiences of PeaceJam with the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala, individuals came forward to share their stories of struggle and pain with Mrs. Menchu and the whole Great Lakes PeaceJam family.
As one young participant struggled to tell the group that even their own grandparents will no longer talk to them because of their sexual orientation, tears streamed down their face. They thanked their PeaceJam leaders for accepting them, and explained just how vital it was for them to have at least 1 place where they could go and always - ALWAYS - be welcome.
This opened the way for others. Again and again, youth thanked PeaceJam for providing them with the only safe place that they have to go - for being the group they accepts them just as they are.
Many PeaceJam Clubs addressed these problems head on in their Global Call to Action service learning projects.
At the United Church of Granville, the PeaceJammers promoted a Day of Silence at their high school for victims of bullying; they organized an anti-bullying seminar for their school's freshmen orientation; the PeaceJam club worked together with the Gay-Straight Alliance in their school to organize an open-mic night. Proceeds went to an LGBTQ organization in the community
The Leaves of Learning PeaceJam Club in Ohio organized a campaign to educate the community on the issue of equal housing and employment for LGBTQ people in their town; they also helped other community organizations to make discrimination against LGBTQ populations illegal through “Project Citizen” campaign targeting lawmakers.
Project T.R.U.S.T. of Battle Creek worked to educate LGBTQ youth in the area on how to create and maintain healthy relationships with positive communication, trust-building, testing, and how to say “No”.
We are so proud of what our PeaceJam youth have been able to accomplish, and this amazing work has been made possible with the support of people like you! Please join us is supporting the creation of the next generation of leaders, and in telling these youth that this work matters!
With your donations, we are able to ensure that this transformative programming stays available to youth throughout the Great Lakes region, and that we can continue to provide safe places where young people can find the support and strength they need to be the change in our communities.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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