It is heartbreaking that the world had to lose six wonderful people because of homophobia and bullying. As heartbreaking as it is though, I think its important to remember that this doesn’t have to keep happening. We can drown out the hurtful messages that people in society send with messages of love and hope and, in doing this, save lives.
On Sunday NYU held a vigil (organized by last year’s QPS Zaneta!!) in Washington Square Park to remember these six boys. Governor David Paterson spoke at the event. Despite the rain over two thousand people attended this moving event. According to one news article about the event:
“For almost an hour, neon red, blue, green, and yellow glow-sticks illuminated the umbrella-covered vigil. After several speeches, thousands sang, “Over The Rainbow,” then chanted, repeatedly, “human rights for all.”
Others, as they exited the park around 10:00 PM took time to write messages of love and hope on the asphalt walkways, knowing they would soon be consumed by the rain.”
On the 20th everyone is encouraged to wear purple in honor of the six men who died as a result of homophobia. Purple represents spirit on the LGBT Pride flag. We are doing other things to memorialize these boys at the WC as well, including making a huge banner to send to the Rutgers LGBT Center and creating buttons to distribute for the 20th.
I think its really important to think about what we all can personally do to honor the memory of all of the people who have died in this way. If we all promise to stop judging other people for who they are – and to treat everyone around us with respect, at the very least, we can change this culture. Six boys have already died in such a short amount of time but we as a society have the power to keep it from becoming seven, or eight, or nine, or more simply by calling out bullying in our daily lives and refusing to engage in it ourselves.
More Information & Resources:
The It Gets Better Project
Sometimes we fight back by merely surviving: A missive for the bullied.
September’s Anti-Gay Bullying Suicides – There Were A Lot More Than 5