On Sunday, October 6, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (the Alliance) honored Dr. Christie Aird, Clinton Rosette Middle School Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), and student activist Emma Leff for their leadership in making Illinois schools safer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

For updates on our work, be sure & check out the latest issue of the Alliance newsletter—Arrows: Charting the Course— and the FY13 Annual Report found at

Dear LGBTQ Safe Schools Supporter:

“GSAs are basically the indicator of how safe LGBTQ and allied youth feel or don't feel in schools… just knowing that resource is there shifts the way young people perceive their school environment.” Shannon Sullivan in the Windy City Times, Nov. 20, 2013

As a stakeholder in the movement for safer schools and communities, what lasting legacy would you impart for the youth of Illinois?  You donation today will help honor a pioneering leader in the safe schools movement and support the Alliance’s ongoing work (1) expanding the legacy of leaders developed through the Alliance’s youth organizing work, (2) advocating for policies that protect and nurture all our youth, and (3) Promoting Dialogue & Cultivating Change with the Alliance’s training of school personnel.

In October we were saddened to learn that Shannon Sullivan, the Alliance’s founding executive director, was resigning her position and moving on to the next phase of her professional life. On behalf of the Alliance Youth Committee, the Board of Directors, and the Alliance staff and volunteers, we celebrate Shannon’s unwavering vision, commitment, and leadership which has so firmly established the Alliance’s strong foundation and its ongoing work to promote the safety, support and healthy development of youth throughout Illinois.

Under Shannon’s leadership, the Alliance has established a legacy of youth leaders who have become adult leaders in the social justice movement, passed policies protecting youth that include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and fully realized the Alliance’s statewide mission with the opening of the Champaign office!

The work of the Alliance, however, does not end there... much remains to be done! While we have more than doubled the network of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) from 80 to 163 – including three middle schools – there are over 650 high schools and nearly as many middle schools in Illinois. There too is an overwhelming lack of policies and procedures to support trans* and gender nonconforming students around the use of locker rooms, restrooms, or simply being addressed by their name and/or pronoun.

Now, more than ever, is the time for us to join together in solidarity for the youth of Illinois by nurturing and growing Shannon’s legacy and vision for ALL our youth – where they can develop to their fullest potential, where they are safe, and where they are accepted! Your generosity today will help support the ongoing work of the Alliance or can be designated to support the Board established Shannon Sullivan GSA Technical Assistance Fund in her honor (click here for more details).

Best wishes for a safe & Happy Holiday season!

Sherrine Peyton                                                      Loren Linder
Board Chair                                     Interim Executive Director

To make your tax-deductible contribution today, please click on “Donate” in the upper right-hand corner.

To hear from the Alliance’s 2013 Ally of the Year – Clinton Rosette Middle School GSA – and the impact the Alliance and its GSA have in their school see below video: