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CESCal: Sponsors line up to help empower educators to advocate for LGBTQI students

SAN DIEGO -- This February, hundreds of K-12 school counselors, educators and administrators will descend upon Mission Valley to learn about the sensitive issues LGBTQIA students and better understand how to advocate for them.

Solutions to a Crisis: Saving Students - Saving Lives is a conference meant to “Empower school counselors and educators to support our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersexed, and Ally youth.”

Several key sponsors have now signed on and will be involved not only in a sponsorship role, but also will be sending representatives to speak to the attendees, conduct break-out sessions, and participate in the many panels.

These new key sponsors include:

American Psychological Association (APA)

California Teachers Association (CTA)

Sempra Energy

CTA President David Sanchez attended the first conference last year and was traveling when contacted by San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, but wanted to impress upon educators the value of attending this specific event.

"This is a very important conference for California educators to receive training on a very critical and important issue that we are dealing with in our classrooms every single day," he said. "This is one of the best conferences I’ve attended and I encourage school personnel to attend it."

Brian Law, president of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), will be a speaker and participate in several sessions.

"This conference is a vital professional learning opportunity," said Law. "In the wake of bullying issues and recent suicides by GLBTQI youth, educators must be knowledgeable and prepared to be advocates for ALL students."

Law also reinforced the importance part school counselors and other school professionals play in the lives of students and their success at school.

"Students can't achieve in environments where they are bullied and taunted for being different from others," he continued. "We must provide a safe place for students to grow, learn and become contributing members of the land of opportunity - The United States of America."

Other sponsors that have been involved since the beginning are the Harvey Milk Foundation, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the Trevor Project and the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

L. Stuart Milk, nephew of famed activist and politician Harvey Milk, was a speaker at last year's inaugural conference and was so moved by it, his foundation is now co-producer of the event. He will also be giving a presentation and participating in other aspects of the weekend.

Presale Ends Dec 15th

Presale tickets for the February weekend conference will end tomorrow, Dec 15th, so you are encouraged to get your tickets now and work out your travel plans later.

Tickets can be purchased online HERE.

Other Events

Keynote speaker will be Country Music recording artist Chely Wright, who came out very publicly earlier this year and has an amazing story to tell attendees. Wright knew when she came out she had to have a greater purpose in her life, and she has done just that.

She is currently National Spokesperson for GLSEN and is honored to speak to the counselors and educators in attendance.

Chely also just launched a non-profit organization called, LIKE ME, whose mission is to provide support, resources and education to LGBT individuals, and their families and friends.

In addition to the many speakers in attendance, CESCal will be honoring Cyndi Lauper for her great work with the We Give a Damn campaign, launched by her True Colors Fund. Although Ms Lauper will not be able to attend, Gregory Lewis from Lauper's True Colors Fund will accept the award on her behalf.

For a full list of speakers, break-out session topics and activities of the conference, visit the conference website.

Morgan M. Hurley is the Copy Editor for SDGLN. She can be reached at 877-727-5446, ext 710, or via email at morgan@sdgln.com.