Second Chance Prom in Mississippi Great Success, Humanists Say

The Second Chance Prom–with lead sponsorships from the American Humanist Association (AHA) and Green Day–was held in downtown Tupelo, Mississippi on Saturday night and was a great success, according to leaders from the AHA. The Second Chance Prom welcomed LGBT youth and friends, as well as student Constance McMillen and her classmates from Itawamba Agricultural High School. The school had canceled its own prom rather than allow Constance to attend with her girlfriend.

“It was wonderful to see this community come together to celebrate and embrace diversity in a welcoming and fun atmosphere,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the AHA. “Acceptance and love transcended the bounds of hatred on Saturday night, and I hope all Americans will find value in what has taken shape.”

Following a dinner for attendees, the prom featured LGBT and humanist activism booths and an awards ceremony honoring outstanding Mississippi youth. Lance Bass addressed the crowd and musicians Hey Champ and DJ Questlove performed.

The AHA expressed gratitude that donors Todd and Dianna Stiefel helped them to support this event and oppose the school board’s attempt to impose oppressive, religiously-motivated restrictions on their students. That donation was refused at one point by a staffer at ACLU-MS on the grounds that atheist funds would disrupt the event, but the ACLU subsequently apologized for that refusal and the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition ultimately accepted the donation. “Humanists across the country were delighted to see an inclusive and positive end develop from such shameful beginnings,” Speckhardt concluded.

A forerunner in the fight for LGBT equality, the AHA has been among the first to support civil rights, equal pay for equal work and the right for same-sex couples to marry. The AHA recently launched the LGBT Humanist Council to advance equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families (http://www.lgbthumanists.org/).

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