Lewisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) Coordinating Committee elected new leadership as well voted to appoint several new members to the PSEC Board of Directors at their Fall Meeting at Bucknell University. Additionally, PSEC leaders voted to convene the 2013 Youth Action Conference at the University of Pittsburgh next February.

The entirely youth-led organization, whose leadership is based with voting members from Pennsylvania GSAs in the Coordinating Committee, voted to appoint Ashish Kalani, Villanova University ’14, of Wyomissing (Berks County), as Convener. The Coordinating Committee also elected Faith Elmes, Indiana University of Pennsylvania ’15, of Landisburg (Perry County) as Assistant Convener.

Following his election, Ashish Kalani said, “I am honored to have been selected by my peers as PSEC Convener. Our coalition of Pennsylvania youth has come a long way from our formation last year – from the legislative introduction of the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Act to growing our membership which now directly represents thousands of Pennsylvania LGBT students. I am humbled to be a leader in this movement and advocate for LGBT youth across our state.”

The Board of Directors inducted five new members: Olivia Benson of Pittsburgh (originally of Aliquippa), Victor Galli of Philadelphia, Ellie Gordon of Pittsburgh, Luis Medina of Lewisburg, and Natalie Richman of Philadelphia (originally of Johnstown). The Board now represents a great diversity of PSEC leaders across the state – all of whom serve in a variety of community positions. Olivia Benson is the Youth Policy Manager for the City of Pittsburgh under Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Victor Galli is the former Vice-Chair of Political Affairs of the Lambda Alliance at the University of Pennsylvania.

“As the first youth-led statewide LGBT advocacy organization in the nation, we are proud that PSEC has continues to show strong leadership growth and sustainability – from critical work in Harrisburg to local community advocacy across the state,” said PSEC Executive Director, Jason Landau Goodman.

The 2013 Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference will be held February 1-3, 2013 at the University of Pittsburgh. The theme of the conference is “Let The Circle Be Unbroken,” which was chosen both to honor the legacy of youth-led advocacy throughout the suffrage and Civil Rights movements, as well as call attention to the strength and unity amongst LGBT youth in Pennsylvania. “Let the Circle Be Unbroken” is the first known conference to specifically link youth-led advocacy in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the modern LGBT youth movement.

The first Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference was held in October 2011 at the University of Pennsylvania, with the National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director, Mara Keisling, as the keynote speaker. State and national LGBT community leaders will be in attendance at the 2013 conference, with the keynote speakers to be announced later this month. The upcoming Youth Action Conference will be the largest statewide LGBT youth gathering ever held in Pennsylvania.

More information can be found at the conference website:

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