The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, October 8, 2010

Remembering those who lost hope

You have noticed that Bessemer Opinions is Pink, and of course, this is in support of Breast Cancer Awareness and Research.

I should be writing about breast cancer, and I will on another day. But my heart is still with the kids who are bullied, and who feel they have nowhere to turn.

Read yesterday's post about Hope to understand more.

For years the Alabama Safe Schools Coalition has sought to ensure that our students can learn in environments that are free from discrimination, harassment and violence.

From their web site:

Students in Alabama schools are currently not protected by existing policies
from being discriminated against, harassed, or bullied because they are or are
perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Current policies
also do not prohibit discrimination against students who are perceived to be
“too masculine” or “too feminine” or students who associate with LGBT students
or who have parents or siblings who are LGBT.

In the past few weeks there have been several high profile suicides of young gay people because they were bullied, harassed or tormented. But in reality, 10 or more young people take their lives every day. Every day.

There will be candlelight vigils across the state on Sunday at 6:00 to raise awareness and to remember those who have taken their lives. (Info below)

Experts estimate that for every teen suicide there are 10 unsuccessful attempts.

Based on statistics from a few years ago, the facts are startling.

One young person (age 15-24) dies from suicide every 2 hours and 12 minutes.

That means that during the Alabama-South Carolina football game tomorrow, at least one young person will kill them self. The same goes for the Auburn-Kentucky game. Think about that while you're watching football. The next time you go to see a movie, remember that during the time you are sitting in the theater, a young person has taken their life. While you are at work today, 4 young people will kill themselves. While you sleep, four more will enter eternal sleep.

Among the general population, a suicide occurs every 17 minutes, so young people are killing themselves at a greater rate than the rest of the population.

And lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are up to 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

This is not just to raise awareness among the LGBT community. We know of the problem. We've lived through the problem. We want to raise awareness among the straight community, the school boards and the legislators and policy makers.

Listen to what this straight teacher has to say about her former students.

Invite your neighbors, your teachers, your school board members, and your legislators to the vigil.

And we don't have to wait till one of our students takes his or her life before we address the problem. Actually, young gay people in our state have taken their lives going back decades. This vigil will be for them as well.

But decades ago there was no support system. No Internet. No openly gay supportive adults or role models.

This is 2010. There is absolutely no excuse for our state to not provide fully inclusive protections against bullying and harassment. No excuse.

This video was dedicated to kids who were bullied in school, and to their families.

I have to disagree with the man on one point. He says suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Suicide may be permanent, but it is not a solution. And it actually creates more problems. Believe me, I know.

In Birmingham, the vigil will be at Vulcan Park at 6:00 on Sunday. Please arrive early. And please respond on Facebook so we will know how many candles to bring.

In Huntsville the vigil will be at Spirit of the Cross Church on Saturday. Austin Jennings will be providing music beginning at 5:45. Please respond on Facebook.

In Montgomery the vigil will be on the Capitol Steps at 6:00 on Sunday. Please respond on Facebook.

If you can't respond on Facebook, don't let that stop you from coming.

And also important is this weekend's Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer Research.

The Race for the Cure is Saturday, October 9 in Birmingham. Go here go here for details or to donate.

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