Coming Together in Solidarity

At a previous Solidarity Week event at CV High School, students were able to see samples of flags, clothes and other materials that support the LGBTQ community.
File photo

By Mikaela STONE


Four GUSD schools celebrated Solidarity Week from Nov. 6-9. Formerly known as Ally Week, this year Crescenta Valley and Hoover high schools and Rosemont Middle School welcomed Clark High School to the roster of schools standing together. The name change follows the lead of GLSEN, or Gay Lesbian Student Education Network, that wanted to emphasize the solidarity between allies and the LGBTQ community rather than focusing on allies alone. Regardless of name, this year marks the ninth that Crescenta Valley High School has celebrated.

LGBTQ students are bullied at a higher rate than their peers, both by fellow students and even adults. Solidarity Week reminds the community that hate has no home in the GUSD. Alicia Harris, CVHS government teacher, is proud of so many schools for stepping up.

“I hope this spurs other schools to join moving forward,” she said.

This week allowed teachers, who chose to, to incorporate into lesson plans LGBTQ history, issues and rights, such as honoring members of the queer community who have made significant improvements in the quality of life for all and impacted culture as a whole. The LGBTQ community boasts members such as a trans man who pioneered methods in the 1920s to detect tuberculosis early in its onset thereby saving countless lives, and Sara Josephine Baker, who was openly lesbian in 1917 when she became the first woman to receive a doctorate in public health. Baker invented a safer form of infant formula, identified the infamous “Typhoid Mary,” and became the mother of preventive medicine. Recognizing and acknowledging such achievements throughout history presents the fact that members of the LGBTQ community are not a new phenomenon.

CVHS campus clubs have rallied around Solidarity Week, each in their own way. Members of the Talon, the school newspaper, worked hard all week on a special pride issue, the robotics team members showed up to one of the school’s Solidarity Week activities with their robot waving tiny pride flags and distributed multi-colored candy for fellow students to “taste the rainbow.” The Crochet Club made friendship bracelets, and art students have been providing colorful face paint. The GSA, or Gender and Sexuality Alliance, invited representatives from the LA LGBTQ Center to the campus WellNest to discuss resources available to queer and allied students who may live in unsafe environments or who simply want to participate in community events. The WellNest offers services for students of all identities, providing a safe space for those struggling with mental health or needing a quiet place to weather stressful events.

This week, the GSA provided pride flags for every teacher who wanted to hang one up in their classroom. In previous years, teachers who flew pride flags as a bolder statement of acceptance of their LGBTQ students were targeted by malcontents. Choosing to display the flags established solidarity with themselves and their most vulnerable students, showing that even against the rise of transphobic and homophobic narratives in the local community, they will stand with their beliefs.

Alicia Harris agrees, stating, “We will weather this.”