Name: Lana Thiel (That’s Ms. Thiel to you, Maria!)
Hometown: Appleton, WI
Occupation: English Teacher
Why I Found Her at The NEM:
As a young professional in our nation’s school system, Lana has already committed herself to our nation’s youth. Not only is she teacher, but she also serves as the advisor for her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. (She’s also the kind of awesome involved teacher who would bring a group of students halfway across the country for the National Equality March). The GSA is doing exactly the kind of work you’d expect; some of the issues she told me about included organizing the annual National Day of Silence and recently they have been advocating for a safe bulletin board where they can post resources where they won’t get torn down. In a high school where students might be struggling to come out, a secured location to find information and connections could be an extremely important (perhaps even life-saving) resource.
Like so many at the march, Lana’s personal reasons for joining the March are simple yet profound. She wants to be part of something important. For her, “The more we march, the bigger impact we make.”
What She’d Change in America:
Lana would like to see the “same rights for all people.” The way she says it so matter-of-factly reminds me that it really should be that simple. It’s sobering to realize that it is no more complicated than just that. Yes, there are all the different bills and legislation, but what we were all marching for is just as she said: the “same rights for all people.”
Lana also recognizes that healthcare is a serious issue in our country. The “same rights” do not just refer to queer equality, but the same protections and access to healthcare as well for all people.
I think we can only hope there are more educators out there like Lana Thiel committed to the welfare of our young people.