By Uma Ribiero
Pictured: Ms. DuPuis, Intern Baylee Slepko from Long Reach High School, and Uma Ribeiro
Thanks to the planning and organization of Ms. Danielle DuPuis and the support of the other SAGA club sponsors, Ms. Holly, Ms. Hart, and Ms. Reisman, Howard County’s first-ever Rainbow Conference will be held on May 15, 2020. Due to the coronavirus lockdown, the conference will now be held online and registration will remain open until May 12th. Registration is free and open to all. To fill out registration forms, go to the Rainbow Conference website, bit.ly/HCPSSRainbow. Registration is quick and easy!
Those who have already registered must register again for the online conference. The majority of the originally scheduled conference session presenters will be attending the online conference as well. The conference will celebrate pride among members of Howard County with LGBTQ activities and resources. Students and teachers from all Howard County schools along with family members and friends are all welcome to attend the conference.
There are fourteen sessions to choose from, with panels focusing on a variety of topics, from LGBTQ literature and games to behind the scenes of the LGBTQ movement, activism, and experience. Those who register have the option of attending seven sessions, from nine am to four in the afternoon or choosing a few sessions throughout different times of the day. Registration also gives the option of receiving a free copy of the first edition of the Rainbow Vision Literary Magazine, complete with creative writing, artwork, photography, and additional resources.
The conference not only gives Howard County residents a chance to celebrate their pride, but also allows for LGBTQ students and other members of the community to gain important resources and learn more about the LGBTQ-based events and activities which take place within Maryland. The conference also gives allies an opportunity to learn more about how they can support their LGBTQ friends and family as well. will be distributed to attendees,
Ms. DuPuis, who has been organizing the Rainbow Conference and securing sponsors, commented on what inspired her to plan this event. “Over the years at SAGA meetings, students would comment how they would love to meet up with other students from other schools, and also, as a sponsor, I was kind of like “I feel pretty in-the-know about a lot of things,” but I was also learning a lot of new things from students, like things that were going on around the school, and I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we had a conference that could bring students from other schools here, so other LGBTQ students and their allies could meet up, get together, and meet one another and plan, but also that would inform these students as well as other educators about LGBTQ issues in and outside of the school system. I feel like it’s one of those things that you don’t know what you don’t know and the more that we bring awareness to these things, the better. For instance, I had not even heard about non-binary genders until like two years ago, so…to be able to have other teachers and educators come and not feel judged for maybe not knowing proper [LGBTQ] protocol and be able to attend these sessions that are going to be offered that will help them in the classroom and just in general, I think is going to be good.”
Hammond students have been looking forward to the conference for months. Sophomore Kelly Kujawa commented, “I am really excited for the Rainbow Conference because it provides an opportunity for members of the LGBTQ+ community to be surrounded by members of the Hammond and Howard County community who support them!”
Sophomore Jordan Galeone added on, “I’m looking forward to the Rainbow Conference…because of the opportunities it holds for me.”
For more information and updates about the conference, be sure to follow @hcpss_pride on Instagram and Twitter.