Now in its 8th year, event is cosponsored by the National Education Association and American Association of School Librarians
Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation — the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — hosts its eighth annual “Welcoming Schools National Day of Reading: A Celebration of Stories Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Youth (formerly called Jazz and Friends: National Day of School and Community Readings),” an opportunity for thousands of students, educators, parents, elected officials and allies to join in solidarity with transgender and non-binary students. The readings today are expected to draw over 25,000 participants across more than 300 locations. The Welcoming Schools National Day of Reading is sponsored by the HRC Foundation as well as the National Educational Association (NEA), the country’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3 million educators across the U.S and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), representing over 7,000 school librarians in the U.S., Canada and abroad.
Welcoming Schools National Day of Reading takes place to honor the solidarity shown by community members when an elementary school student came out as transgender and her school educated their students by reading I Am Jazz, an autobiographical picture book about a transgender girl, which attracted a crowd of over 600 people wanting to learn. Since that time, HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program has compiled book lists for all age groups and chooses a few books to spotlight every year. Communities participating this year have been encouraged to read the following books:
This is Our Rainbow, edited by Nicole Melleby and Katherine Locke
When Aidan Became a Brother, by Kyle Lukoff
My Rainbow, by DeShanna Neal and Trinity Neal
Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall
Just in the past year, over 300 discriminatory bills were introduced in legislatures across the country – an unfortunate milestone marking the greatest number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in recent history. One of the most notable trends was a resurgence of curriculum censorship and “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” bills that turn back the clock and restrict teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ issues and other marginalized communities in their classrooms. Across the country, 70 curriculum censorship bills were filed and 7 passed into law, including Florida’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law.
The event is produced by HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program, the nation’s most comprehensive, bias-based bullying prevention program in the nation to provide LGBTQ and gender inclusive professional development training, lesson plans, booklists and resources specifically designed for Pre K - 12 educators and youth-serving professionals.
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