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A young student holding a small clear blue pyramid.

Children are multifaceted like a prism. They all deserve an education that reflects their unique identities.

Our Mission

Students of color, those from low-income areas, and those who identify as LGBTQ+ face oppression based on their multiple identities. Teach For America is committed to safety, fairness, and dignity for all students. That’s why we’re taking a stand.

Our National Prism Alliances aim to create a more intersectional movement to end educational inequity by encouraging more LGBTQ+ leaders to teach.

Taking a Stand on LGBTQ+ Students’ Rights

In 2015 Teach For America publicly endorsed both the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, because all students deserve an equal opportunity to learn and succeed in school, and students who are, or who are perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender are no different.

80%

LGBTQ+ students surveyed say they’ve been verbally harassed at school.

3X

The dropout rate for LGBTQ+ youth is three times the national average.

75%

LGBTQ+ students in schools with an inclusive curriculum said their peers were accepting of LGBTQ+ people, compared to 39.6% of those without an inclusive curriculum.

41%

LGBTQ+ students with supportive staff at their school felt unsafe, compared to 78.7% of LGBTQ+ students with no supportive school staff.

Inclusiveness is at the Heart of Our Work

Since Teach For America launched the LGBTQ+ initiative in 2014, we've continued to evolve the name of the initiative to exemplify the diversity and inclusiveness we strive for in our work together.

The National Prism Alliances is symbolized by the prism: colorful, diverse, and inclusive. The prism represents multifaceted identities, crossing not only racial, gender, and sexual orientation identities, but keeping in mind how alumni, corps members, students, families, and our community partners help advance our work.

The name also centers the work happening through Prism coalitions in more than half of our regions and calls for a celebration of our community and its growth.

Ways to Connect

Join a Regional Prism Coalition

Our Prism coalition is a network of LGBTQ+ support groups in each of Teach For America's regions. The Prism coalition mobilizes TFA alumni leaders, staff members, teachers, and community members to support LGBTQ+ students and educators as we collectively work toward educational equity.

Nearly have of Teach For America's regions have formed a Prism coalition with locations across the country. Members of each coalition advocate for and engage people who identify as LGBTQ+ in ways that best match the unique needs and complexities of their local communities.

View a list of regions with Prism coalitions.

Many regions are in the process of forming a Prism coalition and may still offer opportunities to get involved with advocating for LGBTQ+ initiatives, even if their local coalition is still emerging. Contact prism@teachforamerica.org to learn more about opportunities to launch a Prism coalition in your region.

Attend an LGBTQ+ Brave Education Summit

In partnership with regional and national partner organizations, the LGBTQ+ Brave Education Summits offer corps members and alumni the opportunity to engage in learning and development and receive resources to support LGBTQ+ students and educators.

Summits take place in the fall and will be held virtually in 2021, open to all LGBTQ+ and allied corps members, alumni, staff, partners, and students. Summit attendees make recommendations for teacher preparation, student support, school culture, policy, and more.

View agenda and speakers from the 2020 virtual summit.

View video highlights from past in-person summits held in the Northeast in 2015 and Deep South in 2014.

Join the Community!

Stay connected with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Resources for Educators

  • Campus Pride logo.

    Campus Pride

    Campus Pride represents the leading national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ+ students.

  • The Center for Black Equity logo.

    The Center for Black Equity

    The Center for Black Equity is committed to supporting leaders, institutions and programs that promote equity for the LGBTQ+ community of African descent.

  • First Book logo

    First Book

    First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books, educational resources, and other essentials—including coats, snacks, and hygiene kits—to educators serving children in need.

  • GLSEN Logo.

    GLSEN

    GLSEN (formerly the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) is an education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools.

  • Human Rights Campaign logo.

    Human Rights Campaign

    The Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBTQ+ civil rights advocacy group in the United States.

  • Trevor Project Logo

    Trevor Project

    The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.

Tim'm West

Tim'm West

Senior Managing Director, National Prism Alliances

Teach For America

Tim'm is a seasoned educator, scholar, activist, and performance artist who plays an integral role in Teach For America's ever-expanding organizational effort to eliminate educational inequity through developing strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in the LGBTQ+ community. The inaugural director of our National Prism Alliances, he has served in this role since its inception in 2014.

Kezia Gilyard

Kezia Gilyard

Miami-Dade '12

Director of Regional Engagement, National Prism Alliances

Teach For America

Kezia Gilyard, M. Ed. (they/them/theirs), is a 2012 Miami-Dade alum, and nonbinary educator, facilitator, and advocate for LGBTQ+ youth. Kezia supports the National Prism Alliances' efforts to support regions in establishing and sustaining Prism coalitions that are critical levers in support of our LGBTQ+ corps members, alumni, and the students and communities they serve.

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