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Member & Activist Spotlight

Sarah "Mili" Milianta-Laffin: What A Precious Power.

Sarah "Mili" Milianta-Laffin is a STEM Teacher and GSA Advisor from Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Sarah "Mili" Milianta-Laffin
Published: 11/30/2020

I became a GSA advisor because of tiny, little stickers.

I put a sticker on my door that said ‘safe space’ after attending a GLSEN training, and if you know middle schoolers, they ask a lot of questions.

After I explained what it meant, a few days later I had an email in my inbox asking me to be a faculty sponsor of our school’s GSA.

I don’t have an advanced degree in child development or queer studies. I’m a science teacher.

I’m here to say, anyone can be a GSA sponsor because there are incredible organizations out there like the NEA and GLSEN who can help you get started. You’ll never be alone in this work. Shout out to my union, HSTA that released a bitmoji classroom full of LGBTQ+ resources.

Students don’t need a perfect teacher—they need one that cares enough to create space for them to be who they are.

GSAs also help the entire student body. Whether you’re trying to convince your admin to let you start a GSA, or trying to grow faculty support—I always use the fact that an established GSA on campus cuts the suicide risk for all students. Full STOP.

And if you’re thinking, ‘I have too much on my plate to start a GSA this year,’ that tells me while you might not have that ‘safe space’ for queer youth on your campus just yet, you are a ‘safe person’ and that can mean the world to the students you serve.

Trevor Project tells us that just one supportive adult in the life of an LGBTQ+ student reduces the chances they’ll attempt suicide by 40%.

If we are going to remake our nation into the country that all students deserve, rooting out white supremacy and xenophobia, then we need all hands on deck. Every student is a precious opportunity for change and hope.

You might very well be that one teacher that keeps a student here—and you might also never know that the words you said or love you gave did that. What a precious power.

National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.