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Yesterday, I shared a youtube video on my Facebook page of a gay 14-year-old who created the video to share his anguish over being bullied:
Some online accused the teen, Jonah Mowry, of being a “fraud,” saying that he had created the video as a way to get publicity. ABC News confirmed that he was the son of a music instructor technician at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA and the story shared was very real. ABC News also reported that the teen’s mother has said her son has been “uplifted” by support online.
Teens have increasingly taken to social media like youtube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to reveal their struggles with bullying. Many reports cite that teen bullying has reached epidemic proportions. Perhaps it is time for educators and all local, state and federal lawmakers to pay attention to videos like Jonah’s. If you agree, please forward this blog post to your representatives and school officials.
Today is Spirit Day! Millions of Americans are wearing purple today as a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and to speak out against bullying.
Spirit Day was started in 2010 by teenager Brittany McMillan as a response to the young people who had taken their own lives. Observed annually on October 20, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, media professionals and celebrities wear purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag. Getting involved is easy — participants are asked to simply “go purple” on October 20 to help create a world in which LGBT teens are celebrated and accepted for who they are. So even if you don’t own a single item of purple clothing, you can “go purple” on Twitter, Facebook or any other form of social media as a way to show your support.
If you still have any doubts about the power of social media, take a moment to look at what Dan Savage has accomplished in a few short weeks with a YouTube account and a belief that GLBT youth need to hear the message that “It Gets Better.”
Last month’s suicide of Billy Lucas in Greensburg, Indiana prompted advice columnist and author Dan Savage to record a video with his partner to deliver a message of hope to young people, and invited others to do the same. Hundreds of videos have been added to the campaign’s page by people from all walks of life, including President Obama.
In a few short weeks, Dan’s video has been viewed over 950,000 times and the entire “It Gets Better” channel has been viewed 1,730,234 times as of this morning. The amazing exposure of the campaign is bound to save lives and shift the conversation about bullying and discrimination based on sexual orientation in America. There are many lessons to be learned from this campaign – about society and social media. What does it say to you?