NEW ORLEANS GSA NETWORK LAUNCHES AS PART OF BREAKOUT! FAMILY
Photo from GSA Youth Day at Youth Empowerment Project, 2015
BreakOUT! is excited to announce that the New Orleans GSA Network, formerly a program of the National GSA Network, has officially become part of the BreakOUT! family.
The New Orleans GSA Network is the only city GSA Network that the GSA national office operated outside of California and had been renting office space from BreakOUT! since its inception last year. But starting mid-January, the New Orleans GSA Network will be under the leadership of BreakOUT! and operated as a project of the organization. This collaboration will ensure that the local GSAs are part of a larger strategy to end the criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color and address issues of school push out, the school-to-prison pipeline, and other issues of educational justice.
The National GSA Network will continue to operate the GSA Network Southeast, its regional branch that provides support to GSA Networks all across the South, including New Orleans GSA Network and the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition.
In the coming year, BreakOUT! and the NOLA GSA Network will provide support to GSA clubs across New Orleans- a city with the country’s only all-charter school system- to build a base of LGBTQ youth of color who can develop skills in leadership and advocacy to engage in campaigns. Young people from GSAs will also be encouraged to attend BreakOUT!’s Building Our Power Institute, a 12-week long organizing intensive for LGBTQ youth.
Several studies have shown that transgender and gender non-conforming youth of color are at a heightened risk of entering the school-to-prison pipeline and that transgender and gender non-conforming youth actually face harsher sanctions by school administrators even when committing similar offenses. Further, the correlation between not finishing school and incarceration has long been known, though little has been done to reverse the school push-out rates that prevent LGBTQ youth from graduating.
There are currently only a handful of GSAs across the New Orleans metro area, but BreakOUT! has a plan to double the size before the end of the year.
BreakOUT! already has an ongoing relationship with ReNew Accelerated High School, which hosts weekly workshops for LGBTQ youth and allies with BreakOUT!
We need you!