TFN comes to UH, works with LGBT group
A new advocacy group for social awareness now resides on campus; the Texas Freedom Network is a progressive organization in pursuit of religious freedom, defending civil liberties and strengthening public schools.
“There’s a big difference between politics and issue-based advocacy,” said James Lee, president of the TFN chapter at UH. “We definitely feel the need to bring up different issues that our representatives in Congress or our Senators can’t because they are limited to different political agendas.”
The organization has teamed up with the LGBT Advocates, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender organization on campus to educate students on a number of progressive issues, such as sex education and LGBT equality — two of their main concerns. Yesenia Chavez, new president of LGBT Advocates and active member of TFN, said UH is a great place for advocacy because of its diversity.
“This is something we should be focusing on our campus because it is so diverse,” she said. “A lot of people on campus aren’t really politically motivated; they’re just apathetic towards politics. (It is) a really sad fact that the youth are not involved in politics as they should be.”
In an effort to bring more activism to UH, the two organizations will be co-hosting a Valentine’s Day event called “Kiss In.” Their goal is to rally 214 people at Butler Plaza, in front of M. D. Anderson Memorial Library, between 12:30 to1 p.m., to commemorate a march held last year in support of LGBT faculty and staff. This year, they’ve made things a little sweeter.
“We’re bringing attention to the fact that our LGBT faculty and staff aren’t treated equally to their heterosexual counterparts,” Lee said. “We’re getting all these students from different organizations and different parts of campus to come, show up on Butler Plaza and at a specific time everyone is just going to kiss. It’s going to be this big thing just to show support.”
Kissing is not mandatory nor will it be the only way students can participate. There will be signs in shape of hearts and lips that read, “I support my LGBT faculty because…” and students will be able to fill in the blanks.
“The students who come to the event can fill out these posters and make it something that they really believe in or that they really feel passionate about,” Lee said. “We’re also going to be passing out condoms because (sex education) is one of the things we do as a student chapter. We make sure people have a means to get contraceptives.”
TFN also plans to host a music festival later in the year and will continue to be an available source for students who want to become more politically involved or reach out to the community. And although Chavez encourages people to become more involved, she says education is the ultimate goal.
“The more people that are involved in this, the more we’ll be able to do,” Chavez said. “The most important part of this organization is to get information to students so that they can get mobilize on their own if they wish to do so.”