Did you know that for the past ten years, there has been an annual “Stonewall National Education Project (SNEP) Educators’ Symposium” to celebrate LGBTQ+ history. The symposium is named after the Stonewall Riots (also known as Stonewall Uprising) of June 28, 1969, where a New York City police raid of a gay club Stonewall Inn led to six days of protests and violent encounters between police and activists.
A press release from SNEP said that the symposium will have attendees from across the country to attend the symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and added, “for the first time in its history – only four teachers (one wearing a mask to hide her identity” from Florida are attending the symposium. The symposium is co-sponsored by the left-wing teachers unions, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA).
The line drummed up fear of recent laws that the LGBTQIA+ movement says unfairly targets them. The subject line read, “Educators from NY, Chicago, DC, Texas and more… Headed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Boost Morale at National Education Symposium.” In past years, officials from Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Education attended the symposium, but it is not expected this year because of “pressures in the state and the reign of fear.”
The state of Florida passed a bill into law this year, called the Parental Rights in Education, where provisions prohibit teachers from teaching gender and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade and has the Florida Department of Education to develop age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate guidance for students. The law’s signing by Gov. Ron DeSantis threw the media into a tizzy, with both mainstream media and left-wing activists claiming that DeSantis is trying to censor teachers. DeSantis and the law’s supporters countered, saying that the law prevents inappropriate lessons from being learned, empowers parents when it comes to their child’s education, and holds teachers accountable.
The press release then quoted the executive director of the Stonewall National Museum, Archives and Library, Robert Kesten, who claimed that Florida teachers were too afraid to attend openly. The Stonewall National Museum, Archives and Library houses SNEP and the press release said it is “the single largest LGBTQIA+ library in the world.” It added that this year’s symposium will have more attendees from outside Florida and are “coming from other states with harsh new laws that punish members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Ironically, other attendees who work for state governments across the country “are not permitted to visit Florida for SNEP” because their leaders will not use state money to “cover the costs of teachers or state employees to visit Florida on official business.” One example is California, who passed a law prohibiting California state employees from using state funds to travel to states that allegedly discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ community.
The symposium will host Sarasota School board member named Tom Edwards, who SNEP said is “possibly the only gay school board member left in Florida,” and he will speak and answer questions through the video conferencing software Zoom. The press release alleged, “Governor DeSantis has him targeted for defeat in 2024 elections and his school board chair (a founder of Moms for Liberty, and member of the new Disney oversight board) has allowed the public to attack him relentlessly at Sarasota school board meetings. Tom walked out of the last meeting gaining national media attention.”
The previous statement is in a gray area when it comes to non-profit organizations because it is toeing the line on endorsing a political candidate, which non-profits are barred from doing at risk of losing their tax status.
SNEP’s agenda shows that there are many speakers throughout the symposium. One of the presenters at the symposium will be Doctor Kathleen Ethier, who works for the much-maligned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ethier is the director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (known as DASH).
Here are the other events and speakers listed in the agenda:
- Dr. Campbell, Louie Ortiz-Fonseca from Advocates for Youth, a non-profit that promotes “effective adolescent reproductive and sexual health programs and policies”
- An employee at the Human Rights Campaign’s named “D. Schneider”
- Marisa DiPaolo, a sexual health specialist at Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
- Derrick Little (sexual health specialist), Corey Blake (music teacher), Meaghan Tomasiewicz (social worker), Geri Zamora (teacher), S. Patel (employee – unable to verify work title), Sydnee Gee (mental health specialist), Jose Dominguez Magdaleno (health teacher) at Chicago Public Schools
- Michael Washington (Human Resources for Health Team Lead at CDC), Reyhan Reid (American Institutes for Research senior TA consultant), M. DiPaolo (CPS sexual health specialist)
- C. Scott Miller (NEA social justice trainer and teacher), Emilly Osterling (NEA LGBTQ+ Caucus chair and middle school teacher)
- Diana Bruce, expert in health and education equity at Diana Bruce & Associates
- T. De La Fe, director of content and coaching at Leading Educators
- Haeley Robinson (community engagement manager at Time Out Youth), John Concelman (manager of “bullying prevention and LGBT+ supports” at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools)
- Danielle King, National Center for Lesbian Rights senior youth policy counsel
- C. Scott Miller (NEA social justice trainer and teacher), D. Schneider (Human Rights Campaign)
- Booker Marshall (Sexual Health Project manager at CPS), K. Amari (CPS employee), Amonte Butler (associate director of LGBTQ Health & Rights at Advocates for Youth)
- Individuals named “B. Culler,” “Z. Pomeroy,” and “B. Dillard,” who are employees or are associated with Vidant Health and La Flecha Film Co.
Breakout session presenters were the following:
- University for Peace employee or affiliated person named “D. Knudson”
- Chicago Public Schools employee or affiliated person named “T. Scaleta”
There were scheduled sessions, which are as follows:
- Strategies For Teaching LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Sexual Health Education
- Creating & Sustaining Your High School & Elementary School GSA
- Youth Empowerment Project
- An Exploration Into SOGI: Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity In Schools
- Pairing Empathy with Policy to Support the Transgender Student
- Intersection of Racial Justice and LGBTQIA+
- Pride Leads In Schools
- Youth Justice & System Reform
- Stonewall National Task Force
- BREAK OUT SESSION #1: International Human Rights Law and LGBTQI Students
- BREAK OUT SESSION #2 Problematizing ‘Protect Trans Kids’
- LGBTQ Data Workout: Flexing Your YRBS Muscles
- “You Belong Here” Documentary
It is clear, that after going through the press release and agenda for the symposium, that SNEP has an agenda to push and promote LGBTQIA+ onto public schools, parents and children.