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FLAG Flag Football is committed to embracing the values of diversity and inclusion in order to achieve and sustain the community that we have built. We firmly believe that we can best promote excellence by tackling stereotypes, building community and transforming lives through the sport of flag football. Understanding the climate of diversity, inclusion and excellence is critical to maintaining our mission and meeting our strategic goals within the LGBTQ+ community. We further recognize that the responsibility for upholding these values lies within all members of our football community.
Our commitment to diversity and inclusion across many dimensions (including but not limited to race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation) aligns closely with our values and missions and is reflected within our activities both on and off the field. Diversity and inclusion is sponsored and embedded at the highest levels of our organization but are not limited to leadership and are shared by all that choose to engage within our community. We understand that implementing these values at our highest levels will fuel opportunities for FLAG Flag Football to support positive engagements within all our communities and fuel innovation towards diversity. FLAG Flag Football is committed to ensuring that diversity is upheld in everything that we do for our members and community.
About the ScholarshipIn November 2017, FLAG Flag Football’s annual youth scholarship was renamed the Marc E. Lewis Youth Scholarship. Marc was notified with this news when he announced his retirement from our Board at the Fall 2017 season-end celebration. We cannot think of a more meaningful way to honor Marc and recognize his ten years of service on our Board.
The Marc E. Lewis Youth Scholarship is presented annually to a graduating high school student who has made school and/or community sports programs safer for, and more inclusive of, LGBTQ student-athletes, as either a role model or ally. In line with the mission of our organization, students of all athletic skill levels, achievement, and contributions are encouraged to apply. Marc first envisioned this scholarship five years ago, and, under his leadership, we have been proud to award this $5,000 scholarship ever since.
Marc, as an educator and advocate for LGBTQ+ youth, has brought this passion to FLAG Flag Football, and, as the longest serving Board member in our history, transformed our organization.
In addition to our scholarship, Marc has envisioned and led multiple other youth initiatives over the years. Our LGBTQ Youth Field Day, first organized by Marc in 2011 as the first-of-its-kind event, in which teens throughout the state were invited to join other LGBTQ high school students for an afternoon of games, food, music, and networking, has blossomed into a partnership with the Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students, an anti-bullying initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. We are so proud of this collaboration and annual tradition.
In June 2017, FLAG Flag Football, under Marc’s leadership, replicated this field day at Camp Lightbulb, a weeklong summer camp in Provincetown, Massachusetts for LGBTQ young people between ages 14 and 18. Marc encouraged us to go one step further and we presented our first annual “campership,” funding a young person’s camp experience. We provided a second campership the following summer.
We hope that this scholarship will forever honor a leader and friend who has dedicated his professional life to education and personal service to improving the lives of others. A public school social studies teacher for nearly 20 years, Marc led his local teacher’s union for a decade, and prior to that, was the president of GLSEN Boston, the founding chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, an organization dedicated to ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ students.
This scholarship, we believe, best honors Marc’s passion, commitment, and service — to his students, our league, and community.