Friday, December 9, 2011

Jonah Speaks on Good Morning America

In case you missed it, and I did by mere minutes, Jonah and his wonderful family were on Good Morning America this morning speaking out publicly for the first time since the frenzy began last weekend.  Okay, let me first say to those who lashed out at my posts yesterday about Jonahmania that you're missing, completely, what I was saying.  Let me tell you that watching that raw video from August STILL makes me cry!  The 12-year-old boy inside of me who was savagely beaten in a gay bashing felt every single bit of Jonah's pain.  As he cried, I cried.  And, in the end, as he vowed to fight on, I, too, chose to fight on through it.  I'm so glad that I did.  He will be, too.

This doesn't mean, mind you, that I'm wavering one iota from my stance that, as we saw again this morning on GMA, Jonah is okay.  Better yet, he's going to BE okay.  My "rant", as it was called, remains intact:  share some of this now-overabundant love and support with some of the other, hidden, teens who are in the exact same boat that Jonah was in in August and let THEM know that there's hope for them.  Let THEM know that there's literally millions upon millions of people worldwide, thanks largely to Jonah's video, who are willing to be there for them, as well.  See, Jacob Rogers didn't feel that love and support.  Now, he's gone.  I'm not ready to move past that one yet.  He struggled in his final days while the world gushed over Jonah.  Not a knock on Jonah; a knock on us as a people.  You call it a rant; I call it the blinding truth.  Tomato, tomato.

In Jonah's interview, we get to see a healthy, happy Jonah along with his loving, supportive family.  Heartwarming.  Johan said that he's very happy that "the topic is getting the attention it needs to", finally.  That's his gift to us.  He encouraged other at-risk teens who are being bullied to "tell your parents...because keeping it in just makes it a lot harder." And, again, his unspoken message was, "I'm ok.  Things were really dark then, but I'm ok."

I embrace Jonah Mowry.  Undoubtedly, millions of other teens in the same boat do, as well.  It took unprecedented courage for him to make that early morning video last August.  We're a better people because he did.

Rest in Peace Cameron DeVeronica (14 Year Old Victim of Bullycide)

Eight days into the month, and I'm telling you about a 4th teen suicide that came at the hands of bullying.  Fourteen year old Cameron Lee DeVeronica committed suicide 11/29/2011.  Her friends say she was bullied.  The police are investigating "the extent to which bullying may have played a role in Cameron's death."  Really?

Meanwhile, hundreds of her schoolmates took to the streets with their own effort to end the madness and bring about change.  Said one student, "...there's so much that can be done, and there's so much that could've been done previously to prevent this...and, so much more that should be done."  We need more people like him, young and old, to start stepping up.

How many more young lives do we have to lose before everybody from the Highest Office on down see this for exactly what it is:  an epidemic.  The rollcall for this year's young lives lost to suicide is staggering.  And, the year isn't over.

Kudos to the students of Spencerport High School who joined the battle cry of "enough is enough" and took to the streets.  Rest when and if you need to, but never give this fight.  We need more warriors like you, more voices like Jonah Mowry's, and a more concerted effort by our leaders in order to bring about the changes that will matter.

Bullying should not be punished by detention.  Detention means they eventually get to go back to school.  Jamie Hubley, Ben Lewis, Jacob Rogers, and now Cameron DeVeronica, amongst too many others, will never get that opportunity again.  Bullying needs to be treated as the hate crime that it is.

There's been a facebook page set up in her honor.  A place for remembering, and for healing.  Follow the link, check it out, and "like" it.  Show your continued support for this effort.  Do everything you can think of doing, then do a little more.  Enough really is enough.

Rest in Peace, Cameron Lee DeVeronica.