Madison Metropolitan School District and the Madison Public Library Host Local Readings of Children’s Book 'I Am Jazz' in Support of Transgender Youth

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 3:54pm

MADISON, WI -- Parents, teachers and community members here and across the country are standing up to state legislative efforts targeting transgender people on Feb. 28 with readings of I Am Jazz, a book by transgender teen and Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings.

The book readings, sponsored by MMSD, the Madison Public Library, and A Room of One’s Own, will be held from 6:00-7:00 pm on Thursday, Feb. 28 at the following Madison libraries: Alicia Ashman, Meadowridge, Central, Pinney, Sequoya, Hawthorne and Lakeview. Two readings will take place at each location, the first at 6:15 pm and the second at 6:45 pm.  

Readings at Pinney will be done in English and Spanish with guest reader Josh Forehand, Nuestro Mundo Principal. Madison Superintendent, Dr. Jen Cheatham will be joining the readings at the Central Library and Shorewood Elementary Principal, Anu Ebbe, will be reading at Meadowridge Library. Last year’s event was attended by over 550 Madison area residents and was held at the Madison Children’s Museum.  Please contact Jennifer Herdina at 608-218-4557 with questions.

The fourth annual Jazz and Friends National Day of School and Community Readings is sponsored by the Welcoming Schools Program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, and the National Educational Association (NEA), the country’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3 million educators across the U.S.

The nationwide action is inspired by the more than 600 residents of tiny Mount Horeb, WI., who unequivocally rebuked bigotry and censorship in 2015, showing up at a public reading of I Am Jazz. The reading was organized by a caring parent after legal threats by an anti-LGBTQ hate group forced a local school to cancel plans to support a transgender student by reading the book in class.

Days later, the Mount Horeb school board adopted inclusive measures fully accommodating transgender students. Said one board member: “We will not be intimidated, and we will teach tolerance and will be accepting to everyone.”

The national reading effort is sponsored by HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program and the National Education Association (NEA). It unites in action youth, educators, and allies across the country who are hosting readings of I Am Jazz in dozens of schools, churches, bookstores, homes, and community centers in states across the country.

HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier resource for professional development tools, lessons and resources that help elementary schools across the nation embrace family diversity, be LGBTQ-inclusive, prevent bias-based bullying and gender stereotyping, and support transgender and gender expansive students. HRC’s Welcoming Schools has created this guide to help organizers of I Am Jazz reading events build more affirming and supportive spaces for transgender and gender-expansive youth across the country.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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