Fifth-grader’s message right on button

  • Marina Osit, 11, prepares to speak to the Greenfield Town Council about a button campaign she started at school. contributed photo

Recorder Staff
Friday, May 19, 2017

GREENFIELD — Marina Osit has lived in Greenfield with her two mothers for her entire life.

Recently, the fifth-grader noticed her classmates at Greenfield Middle School using the word “gay” to describe things they think are wrong or messed up. So she decided to start a campaign to spread awareness about what being gay actually means.

So far, Marina has raised more than $800 to purchase pins for her classmates that say, “Gay does not mean stupid.”

“I have two amazing moms, and when people make jokes about stuff like that, it hurts my feelings,” she said during a presentation to Town Council this week.

Recently, she said a classmate came up to her to ask whether having two moms makes Marina a lesbian herself.

“His question didn’t bother me, but it made me realize how many people don’t know much when it comes to people being gay,” she said. “Many of my friends who have known me for years are used to me having two moms, but some of my new friends don’t really understand. Whenever I say I have two moms, they say, ‘But you have to have a dad,’ and I always respond the same way — ‘I don’t have a dad, I have a donor.’”

After speaking before the council, Osit gave each councilor one of the light blue pins, and received a standing ovation from the audience.

“I’m very proud of the voices of our youth that know what matters, are proud to stand up for it, and are taking action every day in our community,” Greenfield Schools Superintendent Jordana Harper said. “We want students to grow up in a safe and tolerant environment where they’re prepared to lead in the world that we live in today and in the future.”

Marina’s mother, Amy Proietti, said her daughter is no longer taking donations because the campaign was so successful. She was able to purchase so many pins that she’s now giving them to students at other schools.

“It was amazing how it took off, considering the first request for help from Marina was (last) Monday,” Proietti said, adding the donations have ranged from 75 cents to $200.

Each pin costs about $2.50.

“It’s been a great experience for the whole family, and especially for Marina,” she said.