Post submitted by Kimmie Fink, Welcoming Schools Consultant
On Sunday, March 10, Welcoming Schools Facilitator Lisa La Monica, who works for the Miami-Dade School District (MDSD), received Equality Florida’s Voice for Equality Award at their annual Miami gala. Welcoming Schools is proud to have one of its own honored for her decades of advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ students.
As a counselor and School Ally for Equality (S.A.F.E.) Liaison at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, La Monica has created support groups for LGBTQ youth to help them build confidence and respond to discrimination and harassment. She also sponsors the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and has worked hard to educate all students and staff to prevent bias-based bullying from occurring in the first place.
La Monica’s influence extends well beyond her school. She successfully lobbied for a statewide anti-bullying law in 2008, advises MDSD on LGBTQ support services, serves on the board of directors for Safe Schools Florida, and was an integral part of Equality Florida’s Safe and Healthy Schools program. La Monica also trains young people to speak about their experiences and established Living Rainbow, a student performance troupe that helps members and audiences to process grief and increase awareness about LGBTQ teen suicide. On the national level, La Monica is a member of National Safe Schools Roundtable and a contributor to the Stonewall National Education Project.
As a Nationally Certified Welcoming Schools Facilitator, La Monica uses her expertise to facilitate training modules and provide resources and materials to assist schools in becoming inclusive and welcoming for all students. La Monica’s advocacy for LGBTQ youth and experience in the field, coupled with her utter commitment to safe schools for all, make her an outstanding ambassador for the Welcoming Schools program.
La Monica is a powerful voice — locally, statewide, and nationally — for LGBTQ students, but perhaps most impressive is her support for them on the ground. She is a mentor, mother, teacher, and life-affirmer. It’s a legacy that deserves to be honored, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
HRC’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, creating gender-expansive schools, and supporting transgender and non-binary students.