Leadership

Our focus is on building youth leadership to create safer school environments. Since our founding, we have had a strong understanding of the importance on youth as leaders within our organization. This is why since that time in 2008 we have had youth members on our board.Our belief in the change that we see in our community stems from youth as leaders in this work and in our movements. Since few of our communities and agencies within our state and country provide this youth-centered focus, we must also fill the role of providing opportunities for young people to learn alongside our youth organizers. We provide trainings and opportunities to learn from one another in these processes. We have created the following pathways to leadership within our organization.

 

Become a Member

Maintain yearly membership, join us for our annual membership meeting, share the vision and goals for MSSC. You can learn more about becoming a member by emailing us at info@mssafeschools.org

Youth Organizer

Plan, propose and implement campaigns, you can also have access to travel opportunities for MSSC. The YO program requires young folks to commit to 12 months of engaging in community outreach and trainings. Contact our program coordinator.

QYAB/Board of Directors

Provide guidance and direction for MSSC, represent MSSC publicly at events and provide financial and policy oversight for MSSC. QYAB intentionally leaves open spots on the Board.

While applications are accepted throughout the year, QYAB (as it sees fit) will host recruiting campaigns in order to fill open positions. Candidates should be organized and focused individuals who have an established commitment to youth organizing. QTPOC and young folks under 30 are encouraged to apply.

natt

Natt Offiah

Board Chair

Natt O. Is a first generation Nigerian American. The Jackson native began her work as an activist and advocate at the age of 17. As a freshman at Jackson State University, Natt co-founded Spectrum, the university’s GSA, and was elected president the following year, a title she held until her graduation in 2014. Natt obtained her bachelors degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She is also a member of SONG (Southerners on New Ground) which is a regional queer liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities,working class and rural and small town LGBTQ+ people in the south. Natt has been involved with the MSSC since 2009 when she was first introduced to the idea of Gay Straight Alliances, and has since joined QYAB, the MSSC’s advisory board in 2015. Natt’s work in the MSSC has been centered in working with young people, schools and GSA’s. She works with schools in Mississippi to provide administrative training for teachers and to help youth organize GSAs in their schools and communities. A quote Natt uses to guide her activism work is: “If you give youth the tools to lead, they will.”

key

Key Jackson

Board Member

Key is a 1st nations/Black Queer radical dreamer who is committed to weaving the strength of their community into sustainable social change. A Founding member of Black Youth Project 100 New Orleans, Key has spent the past 10 years fighting for Queer, Youth, Educational, Housing, Immigrant and Racial Justice. Key’s lived experience as a low income, Queer person of color has fueled their desire to educate and move always towards a more equitable reality. Key has co-founded multiple youth centered initiatives and has provided formal as well as informal trainings to hundreds of youth, organizations and communities across the nation as a field organizer for Basic Rights Oregon, Teen Program Coordinator at The Lussier Community Education Center and Educational Justice Program Manager at GSAFE. Key has also served as a board member of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association, and Vice President to the Superintendent Human Relations Council in the Madison Metropolitan School District. A Rockwood LGBTQ fellow and recipient of The Network for Peace and Justice’s Peacemaker of the Year award, Key resides in New Orleans with her wife two children and three dogs.

arekia

Arekia Bennett

Board Member

Arekia Bennett is a 24 year old activist/strategist/organizer who smashes the stereotype of the traditional beauty pageant queen. The former Miss Black Mississippi USA, 2016 is a Fall 2015 graduate of Jackson State University that now holds a B.S. Degree in Physics. Arekia has hopes of beginning a dual degree program in the Fall of 2017 that allows her to pursue both an MPP and JD simultaneously. During her undergraduate career, she served as President of both Spectrum (campus' GSA) and the Student Health Advisory Council. During Bennett's matriculation at Jackson State University, she founded GIRL (Gathering Information Related to Ladies). Her vision for this organization was to create a space for advocacy, to counter problematic university policy (and change it), and for African American women to learn about African American Women's History as well as use GIRL as a support group to unpack and help heal one another through storytelling. In April 2016, she started working intimately with MSSC as part of the Youth Organizers Program and is thrilled to have since, joined the the MSSC board!

TeenGSA

We have open spots!

Board Member

Join our board to share your skills, build your leadership ability, and connect with a network of other young organizers from across our state, region, and nation. For more information check out our board application available at: https://form.jotform.com/61827303992158