By Sam Alavi

To the GSA Network community,

We are incredibly saddened to announce that Amanda Harris, an incredibly important member of our GSANetwork family, is no longer with us and passed away on Friday September 23, 2016.

Amanda “Arkansassy” Harris, served as GSA Network’s Northern CA Program Coordinator and Safe and Supportive Schools Project Manager from 2010 to 2014.  Through her time as a GSA Network staff member and beyond, she inspired hundreds of LGBTQ youth through numerous successful Youth Councils, Activist Camps, conferences, and creative curriculum that continues to be used by hundreds of youth today. Amanda’s dedication to fighting injustice and empowering youth was clear through the many late nights and weekends she spent working with young people, and the passionate, articulate, unique voice she brought to the organization through her proud identity as a Southern Femme.

I, as a former youth activist and now co-chair of GSA Network’s board of directors, had the pleasure of working closely with Amanda over the years; Amanda was one of the first staff members I ever worked with as a youth council member six years ago. I will always cherish her lasting impact on my leadership skills and activist career, as she led me through long weekends of trainings, and introduced me to discussions about power, privilege, and identity that I still utilize to this day. Her vibrant personality and deep knowledge and passion for activism provided me with the opportunity to become a confident and experienced advocate for my communities.

Amanda’s death is a huge loss to not only me and GSA Network, but to every past and present life that her incredible kindness, artistry, personality, fierceness and advocacy touched. We send our love and support to the GSA Network family and everyone who is mourning Amanda.

Amanda’s life, and contributions to the GSA Movement will be honored and celebrated by GSA Network.  Please keep checking the GSA Network page for updates on how to support Amanda’s loved ones, and celebrate her life as well as seek mental health resources and support from the community if needed.

With compassion, strength, and solidarity,
Sam Alavi  GSA Network class of 2013
Co-Chair, Board of Directors, GSA Network

Geoffrey Winder & Ginna Brelsford
Co-Executive Directors, GSA Network