Today's post was written by my 16 year old daughter. Please read it, I think she has something important to say. xoxo T.
William (Billy) Lucas.
You might not have heard these names. These are all boys who committed suicide in the last few months after being bullied due to their sexual orientation. Who knows what they felt? Alone, ostracized? Like life wasn't worth living. Like they didn't matter? Their acts of desperation could have gone unnoticed. Thing is, we saw. The internet saw. First one, then another, then hundreds, then thousands of people took a stand. In their own way, everyone said that these boys…and so many like them…matter.
Then, the internet spoke. (Well, it didn't really. It's inanimate. Go with me here, I'm making a point.)
It started with an idea.
Social media spread the idea to quite literally thousands of people.
The idea was simple: wear purple (the color of spirit on the LGBTQ flag) on October 20, 2010 in memory of those boys, and for all the other kids out there who may feel the same way.
So today, I wore purple. To my surprise, there were other kids in my (conservative Christian) class who wore purple. Not to mention the thousands of people all around the world. Teachers, parents, talk show hosts. We took a stand against bullying, against the idea that what happened to these boys was okay.
Bullying is common now. Before, insults were thrown in front of a class, maybe twenty people. Now, cyber bullying is the norm. Hateful anonymous comments, bringing down the person in front of everyone on the internet...whole schools. But kids will be kids, right? They need to suck it up. Learn to ignore it. A common answer to the problem, and not a solution.
But you know what?
I think it's going to be my generation that changes it. We know social media. Some of us communicate mostly through email, facebook and texting. We get how to make a difference. And we do. My generation will be the one that steps up and says it isn't okay.
It isn't okay to make fun of someone. To discriminate based on age, or race, or sexual orientation or disability or intelligence or anything else.
It isn't okay to have an Us vs. Them mentality.
It isn't okay to talk about how loving God is and then hate anyone who is different.
It isn't okay.
And when that happens, when we step up…it will change.
In 1983, D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) was founded. It has changed lives. Imagine what it could be like if there was a similar approach to bullying. In one generation, D.A.R.E made drugs uncool. Nearly every school age kid knows what the red ribbon means. If something similar could be accomplished for bullying...imagine what could happen.
Hate is learned and we need to lead by example. The things we learn in kindergarten can affect the rest of our lives. If we start from the bottom and work up, we can change hearts. If we could show from the beginning that bullying isn't okay...just imagine it.
If we change the mindset behind bullying, imagine how drastically different our world might be.
It's going to start with us.
Now, don't just imagine it. Let's make it a reality.