Move Left, Stay Queer
Following my compass.
All LGBT Students in Mississippi should have a safe, inclusive prom to go to.

If you want to make a donation to help ensure Constance and LGBT youth of Mississippi have an inclusive prom—no matter what happens with the lawsuit—donate to Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition. The donations are collected by the ACLU of Mississippi. Make sure to enter “MSSC” in the “Why are you donating today?" field.

And a big hat tip to JR at DailyKos which is how I originally found where to donate via The Rachel Maddow Show Blog.

When word got out about a Mississippi School That Canceled Prom Rather Than Let Lesbian Couple Attend a flurry of people stepped up to offer help. An Atheist organization and a entrepreneur want to throw an LGBT inclusive Prom and are raising money to do so. An Hotel owner 6 hours away in Louisiana offered to host the Prom at one his hotels. Let there be no confusion: Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition is the one to donate to.

There were lots of suggestions in comments about getting celebrities to coordinate a prom—get Ellen DeGeneres to pay for it, have Melissa Etheridge perform and get Rachel Maddow. The first people I thought of were PFLAG and GLSEN because when I think of organizing, I think of organization. However I was unable to find any mention of it on their web sites.

The ACLU is working hard to get the school to reverse their decision and hold the prom as originally planned. But, people really want to make sure these kids have a prom, lawsuit or not. Constance McMillen is getting a lot of heat from her classmates in the meantime because they don’t know if they’re going to have a prom.

Though they have been mentioned in several articles, a lot of people don’t know that Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition will hold an LGBT inclusive prom in Constance McMillen’s community.

I think it’s really important to support the in-state LGBT organization, because they don’t just help one, but all LGBT students in Mississippi. After the media attention fades, they will still be there for the LGBT youth in the state making sure everyone has a prom to go to. Sometimes people just forget there are LGBT people in Southern and Midwestern states—states that may not have any protections for LGBT people.

We need for them to be able to take the lead on organizing events in their state, not outside non-LGBT organizations. And the way to do that is to actually promote our own state LGBT organizations.

From the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition Press Release:

Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition Working With Donors to Host Second Chance Prom for Constance, IAHS Students

Jackson, MS–The Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (MSSC) announced that it leading efforts to organize an inclusive and welcoming prom for all students at Itawamba Agricultural High School. The announcement comes in direct response to the IAHS announcement to cancel the school-sponsored prom on April 2, 2010.

Ashley Jackson, coordinator of the MS Safe Schools Coalition, said “We are excited to make our second annual Second Chance Prom one that stands in support of Constance and the students at IAHS to have an inclusive and welcoming prom. Unfortunately, stories like Constance’s are common in Mississippi.”

Constance McMillen, a senior at IAHS, and her attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the school’s ban on bringing a same-sex date to her prom. Since then, a national response has brought forth a generous number of donors offering to pay for an event that will include all students. Sponsors and location aren’t being announced at this time, but the MSSC anticipates details being announced as soon as they have been confirmed.

Says McMillen, “I’m honored that so many people have been reaching out to support a prom for me, my fellow classmates, and all LGBT students and allies who want to celebrate at a prom that is inclusive and welcoming. I am an active member of the MSSC and I’m proud of them for helping coordinate these efforts.”

Any donations to support Constance, the prom, or other efforts to ensure that LGBT youth are protected and treated with dignity can be directed to The ACLU of MS is the fiscal agent of the MSSC.
The MSSC is a youth-led organization founded in 2008. The mission of MSSC is to ensure that all students have a safe learning environment by protecting students’ constitutional rights, ending homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and all forms of discrimination, and fostering acceptance of students regardless of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity through public education and advocacy. MSSC is a coalition of individuals and organizations who believe that no student should ever feel too afraid to go to school.

UPDATE from MSSC: “The Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition will be hosting it’s second annual Second Chance Prom at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi on May 8, 2010.”

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