The initiative has been made possible through funding from City Council Member Daniel Dromm to increase support for and encourage learning and dialogue about LGBTQ young people throughout New York City public schools.
"I am proud to help bring the LGBT Writers in Schools program to New York City," said NYC Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). "Young people often turn to literature to find positive LGBT role models and experiences, so it is important to make these books available to them. This partnership between the NYC DOE and Lambda Literary will benefit all NYC public school students by introducing them to new ideas and ways of thinking--the hallmarks of a sound education. I will continue to do all that I can to support and expand this innovative work."
Lambda's LGBTQ Writers in Schools program is working in collaboration with New York City's first-ever LGBT Community Liaison, Jared Fox, who has recruited educators throughout New York City to assign LGBTQ books to their students in preparation for an in-person author visit.
"Our partnership with Lambda Literary will provide students with an incredible opportunity to hear directly from LGBTQ writers and have important conversations about diversity and inclusivity," said Jared Fox, NYC DOE LGBT Community Liaison.
This spring the LGBTQ Writers in Schools Program will bring 20 authors, including Adam Silvera, Bil Wright, Naomi Jackson, Alex Gino, Peter Cameron, Cris Beam and Ariel Schrag to schools across the City to discuss their work openly with students and to encourage diversity. The program is also sponsoring a keynote address by National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson who will address a group of educators during a Professional Development conference next month. A number of publishing partners donated classroom sets of books including HarperCollins, Picador, Scholastic, NoBrow Press, and Simon and Schuster. This initiative broadens the foundation of experience for students of literature, creative writing, English, secondary education, history and social studies.
"We're thrilled to be working with New York City Department of Education to introduce great LGBTQ books to their students to enrich their reading lives and further their understanding of the LGBTQ experience," said Tony Valenzuela, Lambda Literary's Executive Director. "This is an historic partnership advancing Lambda Literary's work with young people that we hope will be a model for school districts across the country."