On March 29th, 2019, four students met in a classroom at Boca Raton Community High School. Feeling dejected by staff and student leadership at the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, they were deadset on getting a fresh start, creating a space where LGBTQ+ students could feel safe and affirmed. Pushed into a corner by school administration, we set our sights on expanding beyond the school to impact LGBTQ+ youth in South Florida.
Getting Into Advocacy
In January 2022, the Florida House of
Representatives introduced HB1557. While supposedly meant to give parents more involvement in their children’s education, it quickly found a new, much more accurate nickname: the “Don’t Say LGBTQ” bill. PRISM sprang into action, making several treks all the way up to the Capitol building in Tallahassee. But this was just the beginning.
Forming a Non-Profit
On April 27th, 2020, PRISM Boca High became PRISM FL, Inc in the wake of a global pandemic. As schools, restaurants, and businesses shut down, so too did nonprofits that had served our community for decades. The difference is that while others took to social media out of survival, the Internet was already our home.
Taking it to Schools
In April 2022, PRISM expanded its advocacy work on the local level when we joined the fight for comprehensive sex education in Miami-Dade County. Since then, we’ve continued fighting for inclusive schools and curricula in South Florida. In September of that same year, we rallied the community to push MDCPS to recognize October as LGBTQ+ History Month.
Growing The Team
What started as a small group of high school activists expanded into a vibrant and diverse coalition of queer advocates in just three short years. We now have a Board of Directors, a thriving volunteer base, and a robust staff team that all include LGBTQ+ folx from many different walks of life with many different talents. Most of our unpaid volunteer positions are now fully paid freelancer roles. In July 2023, we even hired our first Executive Director: PRISM's founder, Maxx Fenning.
We know that youth are the future, and that's why we'll never stop fighting for this community. As we continue to lead the charge against anti-LGBTQ+ policies both in and outside of schools, we're cooking up new ways to bring you critical, and oftentimes life-saving, resources on sexual health and queer issues. Pushing forward, we want PRISM to be a beacon of hope, safety, and community for all queer youth in South Florida.