Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Governor Paterson Signs Dignity for All Students Act!

You did it! Thanks to years of advocacy by committed people like you, today Governor Paterson signed into law landmark statewide legislation with specific protections for LGBT youth. Won't you take a moment to send an email to the governor thanking him for signing The Dignity for All Students Act today?

The Dignity for All Students Act prohibits and combats bullying and discrimination in public schools, including bias harassment based on traits like race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. It requires teacher training on how to discourage incidents of bias harassment, inclusion of discrimination and harassment awareness in students' civility and character education and the reporting of bias incidents to the State Education Department.

"Dignity" recognizes that students who are bullied can't concentrate on learning, may drop out of school and sometimes take their own lives. It also marks the first time a New York state law has included explicit protections for transgender New Yorkers.

Today's historic victory is the result of 10 years of hard work. In 2000, Pride Agenda joined with our partner GLSEN to pull together the Dignity for All Students Coalition, which now numbers over 200 very diverse groups like New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Anti Defamation League. Thanks to a decade of your consistent pressure, the leadership of Governor Paterson and the tenacious work of its sponsors, Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell and Senator Tom Duane, "Dignity" passed the Legislature earlier this year with overwhelmingly bipartisan support.

It takes a minute to send a thank you note with our effective and easy-to-use action center. Your action today also sends a message to the next governor and all candidates running for office: we take action when our elected officials keep their promises -- and when they don't. You will also be signed up for our action center so you can continue to make your voice heard on the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and marriage equality.

Once you thank Governor Paterson, please spread the word and forward this email to everyone you know who cares about student safety, and share the link on your social networks like Facebook or Twitter. No student should have to fear for their safety while trying to learn in school. Thank you for everything you did to help win this historic victory today.

P.S. -- You can also make a donation to our PAC to support pro-LGBT candidates who have committed to go above and beyond for our community --like this governor did today.

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