“I’m white, my boyfriend is black, and I wasn’t allowed to take him to prom.” “A female friend of mine wanted to take her girlfriend to prom, and the school denied her.” “My Arab friend couldn’t attend my prom because of her ethnicity.”
These are real stories, from real students, in 2019. This year, students across the country will face discrimination at prom based on their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, body type, ability, income, and even clothing choice.
Through DoSomething’s “Take Back the Prom” campaign, a movement to create inclusive proms nationwide, students across the country created the most comprehensive map of prom discrimination. Over 1,000 students, representing all 50 states, have added their discrimination stories to the map, and thousands more are signing petitions to demand change from schools that still have discriminatory prom policies.
DoSomething debuted its “Take Back the Prom” video featuring stories from real students:
Through a series of four activations this spring, thousands of students will join the fight to make prom accessible for every student, everywhere. The “Take Back the Prom” activations include:
- National Map of Discrimination: Details above, and available at Map.TakeBackTheProm.com
- Outfit Donations: The largest youth-led donation drive for prom outfits. Students can drop their donations at schools and community organizations around the country or visit TakeBackTheProm.com to learn more.DoSomething is proud to partner with The Wing, a national network of work and community spaces whose mission is the professional, civil, social, and economic advancement of women. During the campaign, The Wing will activate their membership to donate prom clothing to this cause.
- Gender-Inclusive Courts: An advocacy campaign giving students one-on-one coaching to create gender-inclusive prom courts at their schools.
- Anxiety Textline: A text-based service where students can share tips and receive advice on anxiety related to relationships, drinking, body image, financial concerns, and other prom-related challenges. Text PROM to 38383.
DoSomething is partnering with influencers to amplify the campaign’s reach and impact, including 18-year-old LGBTQ+ rights activists and star of TLC’s I Am Jazz, Jazz Jennings; actor, singer, dancer, and activist Alyson Stoner; actor Lachlan Watson; actor Ian Alexander; and actor and singer AnnaSophia Robb, among others.
Advocacy organizations including GLSEN and GLAAD are also part of the coalition to make “Take Back the Prom” as widespread and impactful as possible.
“There is still a long road ahead before proms and high schools around the country are safe and inclusive for all students, and we must stand united to change that,” says Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “It’s on each of us to tell LGBTQ+ and other marginalized students that they can and should celebrate who they are and who they love on prom night and all year long.”
“Prom can be a joyous and celebratory part of the school experience, and LGBTQ+ students deserve to participate and feel welcome as their full selves,” said Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN. “For the past 30 years, GLSEN has been working to make sure LGBTQ+ students can feel safe and included at prom, and everywhere at school. In partnership with DoSomething, we will continue to break down barriers to inclusion for LGBTQ+ students, and help communities ensure that everyone is welcome at this milestone and celebratory event.”
“Prom is a major life event and a significant rite of passage for millions of teenagers nationwide. It’s supposed to be a magical and memorable experience for students, but this year, interracial couples, LGBTQ+ couples, students from low-income backgrounds, and others will face discrimination or not be allowed to attend prom,” says Carrie Bloxson, Chief Marketing Officer of DoSomething.org. “Believe it or not, this happens in all 50 states — in 2019. That’s why ‘Take Back the Prom’ is so powerful and timely. We’re giving students a way to fight for inclusivity in their own schools, right now.”
“Take Back the Prom” runs through June 30. Young people can get involved with Outfit Donations, Gender-Inclusive Courts, and the Map of Discrimination by visiting TakeBackTheProm.com. They can access the Anxiety Textline by texting PROM to 38383. Those who participate will also enter for a chance to win scholarships from DoSomething.org.