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One Million Kids For Equality Launches ProudYouth Online Site for Student Journalists

Published in The Seattle Lesbian.

ProudYouth.com launched this week offering LGBTQ and allied youth contributors an early introduction to journalism and an opportunity to elevate their voices around the issues that matter most in their lives.

The publication will offer youth an opportunity to cover everything from advice columns to op/eds and anything in between – including but not limited to: current events, sports, politics, art, music, movie/event reviews, exclusive stories, personal stories, as well as artistic pieces, such as poetry.

Historically, youth contributors have been few and far between in mainstream media – often being written or spoken to instead of being allowed to write or speak for themselves. This new publication aims to change that by empowering youth with all of the tools they need to share their authentic voices.

Participating youth will have access to experienced and accomplished journalists and editors to work with them on grammar, punctuation, and pulling their message together to make sure it reads as intended. As long as the story falls within ProudYouth editorial guidelines, it will run – even if it presents a less than rosy picture – no story will be altered or slanted in any way.

“I am very happy to finally have my voice elevated, and to have an outlet like ProudYouth where I can share my views, as well as discuss other young people’s views,” said Curtis Galloway, a ProudYouth Contributor and One Million Kids Board member.

“ProudYouth is a platform where LGBTQ youth, children of LGBT parents, and allies can use their voice to speak about important issues in their lives,” said Managing Editor, Theresa Volpe. “ProudYouth is unlike any publication on the media circuit today. Its approach empowers youth to express their views and, at the same time, learn important skills. The publication places tools into the hands of the people who will shape our world to come, our youth.”

One Million Kids For Equality is an organization of people working collectively to engage, educate, and empower youth with a voice around equality. We work on a broad spectrum of issues, utilizing the power of the personal story to elevate the voices of youth in our efforts to create positive change for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people and their families. Learn more at onemillionkids.org.

ProudYouth is seeking additional youth and allied contributors. If you would like to write for ProudYouth, or know someone who may be interested, please email editor@proudyouth.com for more details.

Social Media Campaign #OurTurnNow Launches for Marriage

Published on The Seattle Lesbian.

Ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality hearings, youth leaders from several national organizations including COLAGE, One Million Kids, the Outspoken Generation, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and The Rainbow Letters have launched #OurTurnNow, a social media effort to raise youth voices in support of nationwide marriage equality. The youth leaders are calling on their generation to unite their voices in the simplest way – by posting messages and images of support on social media using the hashtag #OurTurnNow. The collection of messages will be displayed on the campaign website ourturnnow.org.

The social media campaign evolved from a Valentine’s Day idea thought up by 12-year-old Abigail Hasting-Tharp and a group of her friends in Oregon. The group wanted to send the U.S. Supreme Court Justices Valentine’s Day cards as a gesture to urge them to support love.

“Anyone, anywhere, should be allowed to declare their love for anyone and feel safe to do so regardless of gender,” said Hasting-Tharp.

Unsure of how quickly they could rally enough support for the Valentine’s Day delivery, Abigail and her friends decided to unite with other youth groups for an even larger presence online.

“Laws should be no barrier to love. This is why we hope those with the power to make change – justices, politicians and everyday people – will support marriage for everyone, including those who are the same gender,” Hasting-Tharp said.

According to the Movement Advancement Project, same-sex couples can marry in 35 states and Washington, D.C. There are also three states where appellate or federal court rulings have been stayed or contravened and marriage licenses are currently unavailable to same-sex couples statewide.

“Everyone deserves a happily ever after,” said Hasting-Tharp. The #OurTurnNow campaign aims to use social media to unite youth allies and inform the adults of the country that “we think differently.  Love should be celebrated, not shunned.”

To show support using their social media networks, youth are asked to creatively express their views on marriage equality using #OurTurnNow. The campaign encourages youth to get involved ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing through sharing messages of love and support, selfies, or photos of their same-sex-headed families. On April 28, the campaign will come together in a social media storm where youth can stand in solidarity with those on the ground rallying for marriage equality throughout the United States.

“This project was inspired by youth advocates, and our roles as partners has been to empower young people to share their voices; voices that have been a powerful agent of change in the struggle for our families’ equality,” said Annie Van Avery, Executive Director of COLAGE.

The campaign is operating with the advising support from several leading LGBTQ advocacy organizations, including Marriage Equality USA, Family Equality Council, GLAAD, GLSEN, The Personal Stories Project, and Our Family Coalition.

One Million Kids for Equality Launches Before SCOTUS Ruling

Published in The Seattle Lesbian.

One Million Kids For Equality, in coalition with The Personal Stories Project and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center, have officially launched a historic and very ambitious campaign to engage One Million Kids ahead of this summer’s historic ruling on marriage equality.

The campaign started Thursday with the launch of a temporary website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Over the coming weeks, organizers will be launching a full website that promises “many additional ways to get engaged.”

The website’s tagline reads: “One Million Kids For Equality is an organization of folks from all walks of life who support full equality for the LGBT community.”

Organizers say: “Some of us identify as LGBT, some of us are Allies, others grew up in families with loving, committed same-sex parents, and ALL of us believe in full equality.”

They continued, “We each have a story. Many of us were bullied in school for being different, some of us have been teased for having two moms or two dads, and still others have been beat up for standing up for a friend or loved one. Each of us has a dream. Some of us want to be able to walk hand in hand with the person we love without being stared at; some of us want to see our two moms married in our home state, or for our dad to be able to keep a picture of our family on his desk without fear of losing his job. Whatever your story, we invite you to join us as we work to build a movement to show that We Are. We Love. We Stand. United.

Join the conversation online by tweeting @kids4equality or liking their page on Facebook via facebook.com/kids4equality.

A mailing list has also been established via the website: Onemillionkids.org.