R.A.C.C.E. Applauds Waterbury Board of Ed for First Step In Creating Gender-Neutral Bathrooms
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2021
CONTACT Edwin Stubbs Edwin@narrative-project.com 973.223.0525
WATERBURY, CT - Radical Advocates For Cross-Cultural Education (R.A.C.C.E.), along with community advocates and policy experts, commend the Waterbury Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools for their efforts to bring the School district closer to alignment with federal regulations regarding gender-neutral bathrooms, but call on officials to do more to meet Title IX requirements. R.A.C.C.E. is asking Waterbury schools to invest $2 million of American Rescue Plan funding to increase the safety, security, and feelings of wholeness for LGBTQIA+ students within schools. To do this, R.A.C.C.E. recommends fully funding these three items: 1) Access to multiple gender-neutral bathrooms in every school, 2) Professional development for all staff to support gender minority and LGBTQIA+ students, and 3) LGBTQIA+ student clubs, so students are resourced equitably. Since Fall of 2020, R.A.C.C.E. Youth Organizers have been consistently applying pressure to Waterbury Mayor Neil M. O'Leary and other leaders to ensure all students and staff have access to facilities where they feel safe. “This is an issue that I have been working on since I was in high school, and although this small victory heartens me, I understand that it is only one step in a positive direction,” said Christian Acevedo (They/Them), Student Organizer for (R.A.C.C.E). “Our organization will continue to advocate for all students and staff to ensure everyone is treated with the dignity and respect every human deserves.” “Students with a marginalized gender identity or sexuality are at an increased risk to be disciplined and bullied in schools in comparison to their straight or cisgendered peers,” said Jennifer Quaye-Hudson, External Affairs Director for Connecticut Voices for Children. “These students also face the unique risk of being forced out of their homes due to their identity, which can lead to behavior that is illegal yet necessary for survival, such as stealing food or trespassing for shelter. Preventing and addressing this harassment by creating anti-discrimination policies is important to allow LGBTQ+ youth a safe environment for identity development.” “The New Haven Pride Center would like to congratulate and celebrate the R.A.C.C.E. Youth Organizers and their monumental win,” said Juancarlos Soto (He/Him/His/El), Director of Case Management & Support Services at the New Haven Pride Center. “Their hard-earned victory will assure the safety and autonomy of LGBTQ+ Students within the Waterbury School System. It is because of the relentless organizing of Christian Acevedo and youth like Christian who are paving the way for a safer, more inclusive school system and world. We congratulate the youth in their victory and tenacity and acknowledge that this is just the beginning of creating public spaces in which LGBTQ+ youth are welcomed, celebrated, and honored.”
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About Radical Advocates for Cross-Cultural Education (R.A.C.C.E.) Our mission is to challenge systems of oppression by advocating for culturally competent educational practices. Therefore, we believe the most effective way to triumph over systemic forms of oppression is to have an educational system that serves the historically underserved and underrepresented. This can only be accomplished if we advocate for an educational system that is positioned to provide culturally competent school professionals and curriculum, human services, and disciplinary policies, which combat: generational poverty, achievement gaps, implicit and explicit biases towards race, ethnicity and gender.