Post Classifieds

Gay-Straight Alliance begins meetings

By Joyce Jackson
On December 12, 2012

A social activism club that strives to promote a tolerant and accepting learning environment for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender has formed at Richand.
Peter Alexander Hearns, a student and current president, said it has been a
personal project of his to revive the club,
the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), after it fell apart two years ago. He has been actively
involved in the Student Government Association, hoping for help in re-organizing it since then.
"What I was looking for in the group
is just to create somewhere tolerant that
people can come and share their feelings regarding school or personal life with the group if they want to," Hearns said. "They don't have to."
Hearns also sought help from Bobbie Harrison, director of the Office of Student Life, so that the club could be recognized and become eligible for funds through the college. Any student who wishes to form a new club needs to get 10 student signatures, their ID numbers and an adviser.
Hearns said there previously were problems finding an adviser, but now Dr. C. Gene Garrett, chemistry professor, and Ryan Nelson, an academic adviser II, have both signed on as such.  
The first event of the GSA took place Oct. 16 in El Paso Hall. Their table focused on bullying and was manned by Karina Silva, secretary and her sister Denise Silva, vice president.  
"We now have 40 people on our email list," Hearns said. "Between 10 and 15 people show up for meetings."
The last meeting for this semester took place Monday. Members had the chance to vote on a new president, if anyone opposed Hearns, as well as vice president Denise Silva, secretary Karina
Silva, or any other student position within the club.
Hearns said the club will continue after Jan. 22, when the new semester starts. He expects to have a meeting the first week of school.
"Members decide on the times and dates of when they meet, based on schedules," Hearns said.
Hearns said he would like to see the GSA get out there and do more fundraising for different organizations, like they did Nov. 11 for Veterans Day, in support of the Wounded Warrior Project.  They took in about $50 for the Project. The money goes to Richland's business office first and then a check is sent to Harrison, who sends it to the Wounded Warriors.
"We are partners with the AIDS Interfaith Network (AIN) in Oak Cliff," Hearns said. The group planned to participate in the 2012 World AIDS Day Dec. 1, Saturday. The event included live music, people with HIV speaking, a health expo from Walgreen's and testing for HIV.
"Whatever they (AIN) need us to do, GSA club members will work with this organization," Hearns said.
Other projects include more awareness on gay and straight issues.  The club had a table on marriage equality Nov. 21.  Jessica Chester from Parkland Hospital teamed up with the Richland Health Center Dec. 3 to speak on HIV and what World AIDS Day is about.
The club had a table in El Paso Hall Nov. 28 and 30 for Pre-World AIDS Day, where they offered free condoms.
The Student Government Association will meet with GSA members to help with the Winter Clothing drive. The club also scheduled a fundraiser for Dec. 4 to collect extra winter clothes and blankets for a women's shelter. Boxes will also be available throughout the campus for goods and gently used clothing until Dec. 21.  
To join the GSA email list, contact them at TheRichlandGSA@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/RichlandGSA.
 


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