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December 6, 2011 > 2011 Youth Empowerment Summit

2011 Youth Empowerment Summit

Submitted By Ryan Schwartz

Hundreds of young people from the Bay Area and throughout California will participate in a youth-planned and youth-led summit in San Francisco, to enhance efforts to foster safer schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. The 7th annual Youth Empowerment Summit (YES) on Saturday, December 10, is being hosted by the Gay-Straight Alliance Network and will include skill-building workshops, a resource fair and keynotes about California's new Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act.

"It is eye-opening to see there are so many ways youth can change their own schools. Last year's summit changed my life by introducing me to an entire community working to make schools safer for everyone. I am proud to have helped organize this year's summit so that students can better support each other to make the most impact in the year to come," said Raymond Ferronato, a junior at Antioch High School.

The 2011 Youth Empowerment Summit will offer 34 workshops, including: "FAIR Education for LGBTQ Youth;" "Opening the Locker Room Closet;" and "Handling Bullying (Focusing on Yourself)." Keynote addresses will be given by Teresa Favuzzi of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers about why the state's new FAIR Education Act is important for people with disabilities, as well as a joint address by GSA Network youth activists and board members Benji Delgadillo and Sam Alavi about the role of students in supporting FAIR education in their schools.

KQED will also present 'Not in Our School Project,' a Palo Alto student-led program to reduce violence, bullying and prejudice.

"Energy for the 2011 Youth Empowerment Summit is incredible, with young people pouring in from across the state eager to create change in their communities," said Laura Valdez, Interim Executive Director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network. "Young Californians know that schools must become safer and are determined to lead that effort themselves. At the Youth Empowerment Summit, they'll get the tools and resources they need to make it better now for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied youth."

The 2011 Youth Empowerment Summit is supported by community co-sponsors Genentech, PG&E and KQED. Volunteers from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Google and the San Francisco Bay Guardian also help make the summit possible.

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a national youth leadership organization that empowers youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools by training student leaders and supporting student-led Gay-Straight Alliance clubs throughout the country. In California alone, GSA Network has brought GSA clubs to 56 percent of public high schools, impacting more than 1.1 million students at 850 schools. For more information, visit

2011 Youth Empowerment Summit
Saturday, December 10
Conference: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Youth dance party: 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Buena Vista Horace Mann Community School
3351 - 23rd Street, San Francisco
Register at
Sliding scale fee: $0-$15. Pay what you can and no one is turned away for lack of funds.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

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