You Can Play is honored to receive both the National Education Association’s award for creative leadership in human rights and the Colorado Education Association’s Coloradan Award for 2015. You Can Play will receive the NEA’s award this week in Orlando. Immediate past winners of the award include philanthropist Tim Gill and entertainer Cyndi Lauper. The Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights is given for outstanding commitment to LGBT equality in honor of Uribe’s work with LGBT issues in schools.
The CEA’s Coloradan Award is the highest honor given to a non-member and recognizes You Can Play for its work in Colorado high schools. Last year, Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to have LGBT-inclusive language included in every high school sport and student activity as the result of a partnership between You Can Play and the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA). The program attracted videos from students around Colorado in support of the LGBT-inclusive You Can Play message. The program also included videos highlighting support for LGBT teammates from the NHL Colorado Avalanche, NLL Colorado Mammoth, MLL Denver Outlaws, NBA Denver Nuggets and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
“Creativity, leadership and human rights are the core values of You Can Play,” said You Can Play co-founder Brian Kitts. “To be recognized for these qualities by the NEA and CEA is humbling. You Can Play’s work is a reflection of the teachers, coaches and advisors who have inspired us throughout our lives.
“The compassion and leadership shown by the Colorado High School Activities Association in its support of LGBT athletes and student leaders, and their straight allies, is truly groundbreaking,” said Kitts, who helped develop the “You Can Play, Colorado!” program with CHSAA. “Athletes at all levels and kids in every type of club or team across Colorado have said they’ll support LGBT teammates and Colorado is more inclusive because of this support.”