Kennedy Cameron, our Student Financial Aid Liaison, helmed three separate 90-minute trainings as a part of the Port Angeles School District’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Learning Day. The training, titled Gender Inclusive Schools, covered basic information about the LGBTQIA2S+ community and reviewed gender inclusive practices along with district policy and procedures. Kennedy, who uses they/them pronouns, delivered this training within a context of compassion and understanding backed by statistics that show that students face a hostile environment in Washington schools when it comes to sexual identity and gender expression.
We were excited to partner with the school district on these trainings as this work aligns with our mission to help community members live safe, healthy, and productive lives. By supporting an inclusive learning environment in Port Angeles School District, United Way is helping to support the next generation of diverse leaders on the Olympic Peninsula.
In the wake of the presentations, the United Way of Clallam County office received numerous messages of thanks and appreciation, not only for Kennedy's expert handling of the information and poise in front of the large crowds who attended the trainings, but also for their handling of challenging questions and comments from the audience with respect, professionalism, and clarity.
The most impactful feedback we received was from a school district employee who we will call "John." John writes,
"I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for the enlightening presentation you delivered yesterday. Your insights into gender and gender bias were not only informative but also thought-provoking. I found your ability to tackle sensitive subjects with confidence and professionalism truly commendable.
"Your expertise and engaging personality left a lasting impression on me, and I wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation. Your skill in navigating potentially controversial topics while maintaining respect and professionalism stood out during the presentation. It is evident that you possess a remarkable ability to facilitate discussion on these subjects, fostering an atmosphere of open dialogue and understanding.
"In particular, I wanted to highlight your response regarding the intersection of religious beliefs and public school employment. Your perspective resonated strongly with me. You aptly emphasized that students' support should remain unbiased and uninfluenced by individual religious beliefs. Given the constitutional separation of church and state, it is imperative that we uphold a neutral stance and ensure that no religious ideology is imposed upon our diverse student body. Your emphasis on non-discrimination and the importance of inclusivity in support students was both insightful and impactful.
"Your succinct summary of the discussion has provided me with valuable insights that will undoubtedly inform my future conversations. Your clarity in conveying the essence of the dialogue will undoubtedly enhance the quality of my interactions on this topic moving forward."
Thank you to John and to everyone else who sent messages of appreciation for Kennedy's work. We are very lucky to have them as part of our team. Incredible job, Kennedy!