Legacy Wall traveling LGBT history exhibit part of Youth Summit

Sun. November 29, 2015 11:10 AM

Since early 2012, the Chicago-based Legacy Project LGBT History endeavor has been partnering with Illinois Safe Schools Alliance to provide opportunities for the state's GSAs to come and tour the award-winning "Legacy Walk" outdoor LGBT museum. The Legacy Project Education Initiative (LPEI) — which launched on Day of Silence/2013 — provides age-appropriate lesson plans, multimedia, and research resources to students and teachers alike to help facilitate the discovery of historically significant LGBT role models. Each year more materials are added to the growing body of teaching/learning tools.

This fall, in cooperation with Dr. Gabriel Gomez, and the administration of Chicago State University, the Legacy Project is entering a working partnership with Illinois Safe Schools Alliance to bring the fall Illinois Youth Summit to the CSU's wonderful urban campus on 95 th Street in Chicago. As part of the Legacy Project's involvement — where the subject of LGBT-related educational content inclusion will be paramount — the organization will be bringing its acclaimed "Legacy Wall Traveling/Interactive LGBT History Exhibit" to the University campus library. The Legacy Wall will be the physical centerpiece of the main plenary space where much of the Summit's activity will be taking place.

The Legacy Wall contains 125 individual biographical elements celebrating the contributions LGBT people have made to world history and culture. The content, which spans 20 fields of contribution and 4000 years of history, is international, multicultural, and features people from every walk of life. Each element is digitally linked to the Legacy Project's proprietary cloud-based data system that enables users to scan a QR code in order to open a digital portal with video, information resources, and education tools that can be captured on your smartphone, posted, or shared with others. This first-of-its-kind technology integration links the traveling Legacy Wall with the incredibly popular — but stationary — Legacy Walk outdoor installation which is visited regularly by Alliance-affiliated GSAs who come for guided tours.

In addition to bringing the Legacy Wall to the Summit, the Legacy Project will be presenting a workshop/program ("Coming Out of the Curricular Closet") for all of those gathered to give an overview of their recent research into the state of "LGBT content-inclusion" nationwide — and the impact of it. This will be accompanied by an exploration of some of the installation's most historically influential inductees and nominees. Lastly the workshop will focus on the creation and distribution LGBTQ S.E.E.K.s (Student Educational Empowerment Kits) that will include special tools and guidelines to help Youth Summit attendees go back to their schools and formally approach their Principals to request that LGBT history-related subject matter be incorporated into the general curriculum offered by the schools. Participating GSAs would also become part of a proposed online information hub to facilitate sharing strategies and new educational tools as they become available.

Combined with the Legacy Wall's ongoing tour of the communities across the State of Illinois, the facilitators of the Youth Summit hope the awareness raised by the Legacy Project's presentation and workshop, the new LGBTQ S.E.E.K packets, and a virtual space where inter-GSA dialog can take place — will begin to spark conversations in classrooms and board rooms across the state about the power of LGBT content-inclusion to dramatically reduce the incidences of bullying in our schools. It is imperative that youth become the agents of their own change!

LGBT CONTRIBUTIONS to world history and culture have been so thoroughly redacted that today it is nearly impossible for a young person to learn anything about the many roles LGBT people have played in shared human history. This denies them access to historically significant role models at precisely the point in their lives when they are struggling with their identities most, while also being bombarded with negative messaging daily. Without a sense of historic relevance, young people — especially if they are without affective adult allies — can find themselves socially isolated, culturally marginalized, and vulnerable to the loss of self-esteem that lies at the root of LGBT youth suicide. The Legacy Project is committed to using the powerfully inspirational stories of LGBT Historic contributions to counter the ignorance which fuels anti-gay bullying. The Legacy Wall traveling exhibit joins the Legacy Walk outdoor installation and the Legacy Project Education Initiative in a multi-pronged approach to discovering and sharing a rich and vital history which most people do not know is missing.

From a press release