There is a grassroots campaign to wear purple on Wednesday, Oct. 20, to take a stand against bullying. (I’m slightly bothered that purple is the color of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is October, but I’ll get over it.) This will be a good opportunity to not only visibly show youth that we stand with them, but it will be a chance to have a dialogue with those who may still be in the dark.
Here’s some info from HRC:
Too many young people have taken their lives because of anti-gay bullying. While there has been an outpouring of shock and support from public officials in the form of “It Gets Better” messages, we still must address the deeper societal issues driving a culture of relentless bullying – and we must send a strong message that such a culture is unacceptable.
To help send that message, we’ll be participating in a day of remembrance this Wednesday, October 20, by wearing purple. The idea for the event originated online, and nearly one million people are already participating on Facebook.
Not only will the solidarity of all who participate serve as remembrance of those we’ve lost over the years, but it also will clearly demonstrate our support for a society where diversity is embraced and nourished, not ridiculed. Struggling LGBT youth need to know that there is a large community eager to support them – participating on Wednesday is a small way you can help send an important message.
Beyond showing our solidarity on the Wednesday, there are resources for those who need immediate help – The Trevor Project offers tips for struggling youth, resources for concerned loved ones and a 24/7 Lifeline that can be reached at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). HRC’s Welcoming Schools initiative offers tools and resources to stop harmful bullying and make elementary schools a more welcoming and accepting environment for all. The Suicide Prevention Center is a comprehensive resource that works to train organizations and individuals in developing suicide prevention programs, interventions and policies.
HRC is going purple on Wednesday – we hope you will too.
3 thoughts on “Taking a stand against bullying”
I know you are frustrated that purple is the color set aside for Domestic Violence Month- which is this month, October. As a DV advocate, I hear what your saying. But I think that these young men (and thousands of other young people)- were subject to torment in the same vein as domestic violence/abuse. [Tyler Clementi even lived with his tormentor- his roommate.] Obviously, for the majority of these young people, the torture and harassment was not perpetuated by people living in their own homes or by domestic partners/spouses, but chances are, these young people spent more of their waking hours in school than at home, have little say in whether or not they go to school, or which school they go to, and school, without a doubt, needs to be a place where individuals can feel safe. The verbal, and in some cases physical, abuse these young people endured was in many cases ignored or somehow went unnoticed by adults who were in the position to know and the position to prevent and correct this behavior. I can bet that these young men felt so alone and unprotected, unsafe, with no one to turn to, with little options, and not sure who they could rely on. (I’m not blaming the parents, of course, I never would do that. I do believe that teachers and administrators have a duty to be in the know about what’s going on under their roofs, and need to not bury their heads in the sand over this. We need to be proactive to prevent this behavior, and act swiftly to punish this behavior whenever it occurs.)
Where I am frustrated is that wearing purple is, to me, just a gesture. Now, showing solidarity has its value, no question, and I do want all LGBTQ people to know that I support them and will continue to do so. However, what’s next? Spending one day wearing a purple tshirt isn’t going to stop bullying. It won’t erase homophobia. We need to go further to speak out, advocate, and educate each other- our children, nieces, nephews, parents, friends, coworkers- about acceptance. Support each other long after Wednesday has come and gone.
I agree that the violence of bullying can be easily paralleled with domestic violence. Certainly, many of the same tactics used in DV are also prevalent in bullying scenarios and victims can feel just as helpless, scared and isolated. My point is not to diminish the importance of awareness about anti-bullying measures. It’s just that DV is very important, too, and it feels like with all the other “awarenesses” (breast cancer, et al) it’s getting the shaft.
But no matter what, it is very clear to me that violence begets violence. We need to address the root causes of all these forms of violence and stand up together against them.
I agree that wearing a purple t-shirt (or a ribbon) can feel insignificant and like a band-aid. I questioned even posting this for that reason. But then I thought about what it must be like for the youth who are in these situations. It might be just the thing they need to see — youth and adults all over their school, their town, their social network doing something in solidarity with them. I’m not in a position to make an “It Gets Better” video. My experiences don’t work for that format. But maybe if some kid sees me and my daughter at the grocery store wearing purple (and an equality pin), they’ll think about that. I look just like any other suburban mom with a baby. But we’re not ignoring you. We don’t hate you. We want to create a world of acceptance and safe spaces. Because the safe spaces youth (all youth) seek need to be everywhere, including schools, grocery stores, their homes, churches… and so on. They need to see the Ls, Gs, Bs, Ts and the allies. All of us. And sometimes I think it’s the ones who are just going about their day, showing support, that can be the most impactful. But, I digress.
I think wearing purple tomorrow *is* important. Don’t get me wrong on that. I do agree that it will have value and make an impact on those who see it. What happens after Wednesday though? I want to see us continue to work against bullying, hate, and violence. (As a society I mean, not just you and me, Siren 🙂 )
I will be wearing purple tomorrow. I also did the GLAAD twibbon for my FB and Twitter! No, it doesn’t feel like I’m doing enough by doing that. I hope it does influence some of the people in my life, or perhaps strangers that I may see tomorrow. It’s also a promise that I will continue to speak out and educate, and continue working to combat violence and hate towards any and all of us.
I heard that there’s going to be a candlelight vigil at Get Booked tomorrow at 7pm?