Hello! We are Support Equality AZ Schools, a student collective for LGBTQ and minority rights. Unfortunately, two harmful bills are set to be enforced starting September 24, one (HB2495) heavily monitors and restricts diverse library materials, especially against LGBTQ representation, while the other (HB2161) requires administrators to divulge private information regarding the confidential identity of a student. Because of Arizona’s lax enforcement time, these bills passing have gone unnoticed. However, it is long overdue for us to be outraged. These bills outright marginalize LGBTQ students in favor of ‘parents rights’, and ignore the personal safety risks of such actions. If our legislators cannot protect us and instead choose to harm us outright, we must demonstrate that this is not the Arizona we want. Although we cannot vote, these decisions harm us directly and gravely. Thus, to directly demonstrate the outrage we feel at a lack of safety measures for minority students, we plan to carry out a series of school walkouts starting in our main base of Chandler and expanding outwards with our members in Mesa and Gilbert as well as with partner organizations in the greater Phoenix and Tucson region.
Although our walkout got approved for a grant for about 4000$ multiple weeks ago, a processing error caused a delay that will cause our funding to not arrive in time for our demonstration. This is really worrying because in order for us to ensure student safety, we require at least 1000$ and donations to cover megaphones, water, first-aid kits, masks, banners, and other items including water coolers and tents. We have already incurred out-of-pocket costs and as high-schoolers with no stable income, this is really worrying. To be as welcoming and inclusive as possible, and to remove as many barriers to participation as possible while remaining focused on maintaining the safest environment possible we would like to be able to assist with transportation costs for demonstraters, have masks available at no cost for participants and have water available at no cost for participants.