Jade Davis, Junior Writing and Publishing Major from Bridgeville, founded Lincoln Park’s very first LGBTQIA+ club.
I spoke with them to learn about how this club came to be, what they are working on and why having clubs or communities for LGBTQIA+ students in schools is important.
Q: What is Vibrant Shades?
A: Vibrant Shades, is Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charters school’s FIRST EVER LGBTQIA+ club association! It is where students come to meet alleys, and members of the rainbow community, and devise plans to make LP an even more inclusive Liberal Arts school. V.S. , is currently more focused on aligning teams such as social media, the creative team, activism, co-leaders, and the financial coordinators. So, we can get the club up and running, in a stable manner.
Q: Why did you create this club?
A: This is an interesting question because I had actually had the idea of V.S. in mind since last spring! It all started as I was volunteering for a group called, POWER, who honed in on the effects of environmental racism. However, through my work/research, I discovered that climate issues are not only disproportionately affecting People of Color, but also, the RAINBOW COMMUNITY! I immediately reported my findings to the leader, (Julie,) and they said the next best step would be to form a group of friends/community members to take action. That being said, I thought that Lincoln Park would be the resource to use for educated advocates. So, the next school year I located a teacher to assist me, (Ms. Wobrak,) and began my journey. But, I do want to acknowledge that yes the above statement was my original idea for the club, of course, once people joined I wanted to start off with sub-projects as well, and not just have environmental injustice as the focus. At the moment, we are tackling some other sub-groups of LGBTQ+IA plus issues, like sex ed., profits to fund our club, our own queer newspaper, etc, but I think once I bring in Julie, as a guest speaker; eventually; that project will be on its way!
Q: Why did you welcome allies to be a part of the club as well?
A: Another excellent question, Ava, that I am assuming is a popular one across the student body: the reason for ally partnership within Vibrant Shades is due to the fact that gender identity/sexual orientation are categories that fall in the minority in society, not the majority. And, in order to strive for equality people like me, (bisexual and gender fluid), cannot do this alone. Unfortunately, STILL, (no matter if others want to admit it,) our rights are based on whether Straight, Cis-gender, White men decide to do the right thing in government, and 99 percent of the time, that demographic in politics choices selfishness and bigotry! So, that point being taken into consideration, if there are young students willing to listen, and participate in V.S. that are cis-het, then by all means, JOIN, JOIN, JOIN, WE NEED YOU! Because, likewise, they are the ones who shape the minds and can change policies, through privilege, so, are fellow alleys want to use their privilege for the greater good, then I accept them, and welcome them!
Q: Why did you choose Ms. Wobrak to be the teacher of this club?
A: Funny story about this one, I actually had my algebra two class in Ms. Wobraks’s room, and the first aspect I noticed was the HUGE pride flag! I asked around for a while to see if anyone had her email, and once I got in contact with her; I knew she was the one. Not just because of the friendly decor, but because she was open about being a member of the LGBTQ+IA community, and she was so eager to help!
Q: What does everyone do during the club/ What are the different teams?
A: Like I mentioned before, the groups are: Activism, Social Media, Finance Coordinators, Co-Leaders, and the Creative Team! (It does vary based on project changes on who is participating in what, but I can give a little glimpse): A. Trying to put together an LGBTQIA+ sex ed. master class. S. Their job is to post about events that are happening like the coffee shop for example. FC: They keep tabs on the money we make, as well as, what our club must make a budget to spend for. CL: They help me! With whatever I need, as of right now, we are working on training our newspaper staff. CT: The majority has been developing posters and art for Queer representation.
Q: What is your role as the founder of the club?
A: As the founder of the club, I oversee the group’s progress, answer any questions for newcomers, or regular attendees, keep announcements-activities-meetings organized. I plan the schedule for each Thursday meeting. Update members on any news. I run the newspaper, as a copy editor you could say. Send out reminders via email, text, Google Classroom, research further, on club member ideas to what I can do to make them happen as well. Honestly, it just depends on the day, and who needs what from me.
Q: Are you still accepting new members?
A: Yes; but, I want to put a disclaimer out there, we really want hard workers! THIS IS NOT JUST A SOCIAL GATHERING!
Q: Tell me about Rainbow Roast
A: Rainbow Roast was our first step to fundraising to get some revenue for V.S.. Ms. Wobrak, (who has years of barista experience,) taught anyone in the club that was interested how to make coffee, and from there we have been selling hot/cold: tea and coffee. I would like to credit the creative team for coming up with the drink names ex: Ice Cold Butch.
Q: Why is it important that schools have clubs for the lgbtq+ community?
A: It is important for schools to include LGBTQ+IA clubs because not everyone has a safe, and loving family to go home to. So, adding a community that lifts up our rainbow friends can benefit self-esteem, and mental health as well. No one deserves to be an outcast, especially minority groups; WE HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH TRAUMA AS IT IS!
Q: What future plans or projects are club members currently working on?
A: We actually just added the mental health team. For scholars that are maybe too busy to help out, or need some assistance from their peers emotionally. Conversations and topics are discussed within this group to learn and gain healthy skills to provide personal growth to rainbow members/allies.