Friday, November 21, 2008

How I Met Neena Mabe

Last April, I had the opportunity to do a Straight for Equality in the Workplace training with one of our corporate partners, Replacements Ltd. During the course of the planning process, I contacted the Winston-Salem PFLAG chapter to locate a parent to join me and speak at the training. Chapter president Thomas Farmer told me, “I’ve got the perfect person for you – you’re going to love her.”

And that’s how I met Neena Mabe.

Not only did Neena play a powerful and memorable role in the Straight for Equality training speaking as a PFLAG mom, but she brought her daughter, Kate [pictured,right], along for the workshop. The two had become progressively more involved in the work to move equality forward in their community through projects with both PFLAG and GLSEN.

I was lucky enough to get to spend some time talking to Kate, who is a sharp, funny, and powerful young woman who is the perfect example of how fierce determination, partnered with support at home, really does lead to big change. She’s become an activist in her school, member of the GLSEN Jump-Start Team, and a member of her local PFLAG chapter. She’s generated so much attention to the issues that students face in school that she was just featured in a great profile in the Winston-Salem Journal.

So mother and daughter are making change in North Carolina, with Neena active in her PFLAG chapter (and recently a co-presenter with fellow PFLAGer Andrea Angelo at the Equality North Carolina State Conference talking about Straight for Equality) and Kate making schools safer, one person at a time. They make me proud to be part of PFLAG and genuinely hopeful that no matter what resistance we face, no matter where we are, we do have the ability to change the world.

- Jean-Marie Navetta

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