City Proclamation Honors School

Courtesy photo    Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer and Nea staff, students and families celebrated the school’s recent honor for its commitment to including all students. (Left to Right) AJ Leiva, Alicia Petersen, Jonathan Thang, Mayor Trish Spencer, Nik Ratzlaff, Dezaree Doroliat; back row: Owen Harling, Mohamed Awad; front row: Sylvia Crawford with arms around Aurther Crawford, Ella Stevenson, Ella Liago.

Mayor Trish Spencer read a proclamation to honor Nea Community Learning Center (Nea) at the June 5 City Council meeting that recognized the school’s support of its students taking pride in being themselves. Spencer read the proclamation as part of the celebration of June as LGBTQ month in the city. Nea has proven it’s are an inclusive school that supports the LGBTQ community and antibullying.

The city recognized the fact that Nea has steadfast support for all students, regardless of color, nationality or sexual orientation. The leadership at Nea believes that one of the best ways to combat prejudice is through education and providing a safe environment for learning.

Along with the school’s inclusive culture, Nea teacher Nik Ratzlaff designed and wrote curriculum for a UC-approved high school class on LGBTQ issues. The class deals with these studies and examines the experience of LGBTQ individuals and communities in the United States and beyond. It also introduces students to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer studies and explores the impact of social, cultural, historical and political factors on LGBTQ individuals and communities.

In addition, the class covers contemporary LGBTQ issues in families, education, religion, media and the law. Students learn about good ally practices, activism strategies and the way identity, particularly that of LGBTQ people, is expressed in the arts.

Nea has participated in Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) Day of Silence, a student-led national event where learners and facilitators take a vow of silence to highlight the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people at school. GLSEN’s mission is to create safe and affirming schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Nea is an active participant in GLSEN’s mission.

The City of Alameda, through this proclamation, recognized the work Nea puts into its commitment to diversity and the LGBTQ community.