The Washington Post

Blake High School Gay-Straight Alliance sends tolerance message around the world

Students at James Hubert Blake High School launched a new kind of diplomacy this year to spread a message of tolerance for gays and lesbians : Call it rainbow diplomacy.

George Lopez with Allie The Ally, a paper doll created by Blake High School students to spread the message of tolerance. ( Mary Wagner)

Since her official debut in November, Allie has become increasingly popular and enjoyed a jet-setting lifestyle.

“Allie’s been to Vietnam and Poland and Australia,” said Jenna Beers, a junior and president of the group. “She’s met celebrities.”

Ally was photographed on the set of “CSI” in Hollywood with Ted Danson, and at George Lopez’s celebrity golf tournament. She’s been glimpsed on a mountain top in Austria and outside the opera house in Sydney. She was also visible in Annapolis this year with Governor Martin O’ Malley (D) and Del. Anne R. Kaiser (D-Montgomery) when the legislature passed a measure to legalize same-sex marriage. Her many travels have been documented online.

This week, Allie helped the Silver Spring student-led group win a national leadership award.

Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, said in a press statement that the newly created award “recognizes the profound impact peer leadership can have on creating a safer school climate.”

The group’s advocacy efforts have “not only transformed its school community, but also reached countless people across the country and around the world,” the statement said.

The award singles out Blake High School’s group from among about 4,000 Gay-Straight Alliances around the country.

Like many GSA’s, the group which has a few dozen members, also organizes a No-Name-Calling week and a Day of Silence to raise awareness about hurtful language and anti-gay bullying.

This year, the students have also been learning about the political process and have plans to organize in the fall to encourage voters to quash a referendum that would repeal the same-sex marriage law, said the group’s long-time faculty advisor Mary Wagner.

(S Mary Wagner)

Student members and advisors of the Herbert Blake High Schools Gay-Straight Alliance, known as Allies 4 Equity.

Michael Alison Chandler writes about schools and families in the Washington region.


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