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Robin P. McHaelen - Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights

Local Leader To Receive NEA Human and Civil Rights Award


WASHINGTON - July 02, 2008 -

Robin P. McHaelen, founder of True Colors, Inc., a family services organization working with minority youth struggling with issues of sexual identity in Manchester, Conn., will receive the National Education Association's Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights at the Association's 42nd annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner on July 2, 2008, in Washington, D.C.

The award is presented to a nominee whose activities in human rights significantly impact education and the achievement of equal opportunity for those facing sexual orientation discrimination.

"Robin McHaelen is working to ensure that individuals, families and communities learn to value and respect all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity," says NEA President Reg Weaver. "Young people should have the opportunity to achieve and thrive without the fear of discrimination and harassment."

True Colors, Inc. champions lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered young people and helps acquaint their parents and other family members with a deeper comprehension of sexual minorities. McHaelen formed the organization after a field work project in 1994 while at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.

Through its expanding services to young people and their families, True Colors has attracted admiration nationwide. It now provides training for social workers and helps parents of sexual-minority children develop awareness and find support. It recruits foster parents for young people whose announcements of their sexual orientation have caused their birth parents to bar the doors to them, and it maintains a statewide task force responsible for creating policy to guide the use of more inclusive and nondiscriminatory language.

Widely recognized for her work, not only in Connecticut but throughout the country, McHaelen is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Diversity Leadership Award from the Yale School of Nursing (2003).

Virginia Uribe is a high school teacher and counselor and a leader in the movement to improve the lives of gay and lesbian youth. In 1984, she founded California's Project 10, the first school-based dropout prevention program for students facing sexual orientation discrimination and harassment.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

Contact: Celeste Fernandez  (202) 822-7823