Free shipping over $99 | Interest Free *no credit check* financing is available!

Totally Jazzed: Bay Area Schools Host Reading of I am Jazz

by Guest contributor April 26, 2016

Post submitted by Welcoming Schools Consultant Rick Oculto

As the Education Coordinator for Our Family Coalition and a consultant for HRC’s Welcoming Schools in San Francisco, California, I recently worked with schools in the Bay Area to host readings of I Am Jazz. While I collaborate with educators and school administrators to implement Welcoming Schools year round as a guide to create safe and inclusive climates for youth and families of diverse backgrounds, the readings of I am Jazz, a children’s book about transgender youth co-written by HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel, were a great opportunity to to educate the community and to show the school’s support for diversity.

In January, over 3000 students, ranging from pre-K to 5th grade, participated in the event. Through the book, they were able to talk about gender, diversity and inclusion.

While the event took place earlier this year, I recently went to one of the schools that participated to pick up the books we had lent them. When I arrived at the front desk, I learned that one of the copies was still in a classroom with a teacher.

I followed the office assistant to a Spanish immersion class and several students in the classroom saw that I was holding a copy of I Am Jazz and their faces lit up. In excited tones from everyone in the classroom I could hear, "Es I Am Jazz! Podemos leerlo otra vez?" (It's I Am Jazz! Can we read it again?) Just the sight of the book brought a smile to everyone's faces-- you might even say everyone was jazzed. The students loved her story and it showed.

As I walked out of the classroom, I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. After doing this work for 15 years, I was elated to see students in elementary school celebrating and embracing the LGBTQ community.

HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program is joining with the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) to hold community readings of I Am Jazz across the country on April 28, 2016.

Teachers, parents and other allies all across the nation are signing up for our national day of action on Thursday and we hope you can join us. The readings can take place in schools, libraries, bookstores and even your own home.

For more information on how you can host your own reading and to download our discussion guide, visit

For more information on supporting transgender children and youth, visit

Guest contributor
Guest contributor


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Think

New Hillary Ad Champions LGBTQ Rights

by matt baume October 21, 2016

There’s a new Hillary Clinton ad from the Human Rights Campaign, and it’s quite sweet. “Equality is about of course passing laws, but it also is changing hearts and minds,” she says. “We need to build an America where nobody has to worry that they can get married on Saturday and get fired on Monday. Where kids [...]

Continue Reading →

Let’s All Freak About Taissa Farmiga And Finn Wittrock Returning to “American Horror Story”

by Derek de Koff October 21, 2016

As SF Gate reports, Ryan Murphy announced on Tuesday that Taissa Farmiga and Finn Wittrock will be returning to “American Horror Story” in the upcoming episode of “Roanoke.” Murphy informed E! that Wittrock will be playing “the most f–ked-up character of all time.” How f-ked up? “To the point where he was like, ‘This is so crazy that [...]

Continue Reading →

Another Day, Another D-List Male Reality Star With A Video Leak

by Graham Gremore October 21, 2016

Lewis Bloor. Ever heard of him? Us neither. Until his girlfriend, Marnie Simpson, posted a video to Snapchat of him strutting around his apartment wearing nothing but a baseball hat and pair of white tennis shoes. Bloor is a 26-year-old reality star from the U.K. best known for his appearances on The Only Way is Essex and [...]

Continue Reading →