Post submitted by Charles Girard, Digital Organizer
Across the country, transgender and non-binary youth need support. They need to know that there are adults in their own communities who support them no matter what. That’s where you come in.
HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program and the National Education Association (NEA) invite you to participate in our third annual National “I Am Jazz” School and Community Readings on Thursday, December 7. Hosting a reading of the children’s book in your community is just one of the ways that teachers, principals, PTAs, parents and community members can show transgender and non-binary students that they are supported by their community, and that they are not alone.
I wish books like this had existed when I was growing up. I remember scouring my elementary and middle school libraries for characters who looked like me — even before I came out as transgender. The best I could find was a book my mom bought for me about a middle school student who accidentally switches bodies with an alien. This seemingly irrelevant and goofy book actually felt more relatable to me than my mom could ever have predicted.
Luckily, today, kids don’t need to rely on fiction. Children and youth have access to books that include or are about transgender and non-binary characters, helping them better understand themselves and the world around them. You can play an integral role in helping youth in your community access these books.
“I Am Jazz”, a children’s book, co-written by HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel, tells Jazz’s story of being a transgender kid. Schools and families often use this groundbreaking book to help children understand transgender youth and adults.
On December 7, community advocates like yourself across the country will use this invaluable book to engage their communities in discussions about transgender youth; we hope you’ll join us!
What does hosting a reading involve?
All you have to do is schedule time in your classroom or community, or simply gather a group of people in your home or any other place you feel comfortable, and read “I Am Jazz.”
Past “I Am Jazz” reading events have been incredibly diverse and creative—some involved just a few friends in a living room or were held by teachers in their classrooms, while others were open to the public and held in libraries or places of worship. You can make your event as small or as big as you’d like.
How will HRC help you to host an incredible event?
After you sign up, we’ll send you an organizing kit that includes a lesson plan, a social media kit, and a video of Jazz reading her book made just for this day! So no worries if you don’t have the book — the video will be a powerful way to share Jazz’s message.
We’ll also make sure you have extra goodies, including our favorite gender-related resources and an optional press release you are welcome to share with local media. Email HRC at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help publicize your event.
How can I get involved?
- Sign up at hrc.org/iamjazz.
- Find a place—at your home, at the library, in your school…
- Get a copy of “I Am Jazz” (or watch Jazz read it here) and get ready to read!
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