Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's the Stories

Today's press conference announcing the School Violence Prevention Act went off beautifully! I can't wait to see the converage in tomorrow's papers.

Seeing many of our legislative allies and the leaders of our amazing coalition partners standing together and speaking out for safe schools was truly amazing.

What made it so powerful, though, was the stories. We saw emotion today that I can tell you is not an everyday occurence at the General Assembly. Sen. Boseman got choked up—and most of us where right there with her—talking about a high school student who committed suicide after enduring years of bullying. Rep. Tricia Cotham, who has been a teacher and vice principal, told of many situations she'd dealt with her schools, and boldly took on the right wing, saying "they should be ashamed" for putting ideology ahead of the safety of young people. Rep. Rick Glazier and Rep. Cullie Tarleton each shared stories as well.

The highlight for me, though, was seeing Kate Mabe, a 16 year old high school junior from Winston-Salem show amazing poise and courage in standing up and talking of the harassment she faced for being lesbian. Think how hard it must have been for her first to come out in middle school, to face months of harassment in high school, to have to uproot herself and transfer schools to get away from the bullies, and after all that at 16 to get up in those bright TV lights, face a room of reporters and legislators and speak truth to power.

UPDATE: We have video! Check out Kate's remarks on YouTube!

Pictured Top: Supporters look on as Rep. Rick Glazier introduces the bill.

Pictured Middle: Sen. Julia Boseman makes it personal.

Pictured Below: Kate Mabe speaks truth to power.

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