Saturday, March 3, 2012

Monster March Against Bullying

I think my favorite line from their "info" section is:
While parents, school officials and politicians keep imposing well intended rules and policies, we teenagers know real change... starts with us.
My smile was ear-to-ear!  Christi O'Connor, of San Francisco, sent me an email last week telling me about their Monster March Against Bullying to be held in the City By The Bay in October (no specific date given yet) in hope that I would help her spread the word.  And, of course, that's exactly what I'm going to do.  So far, in my opinion, this is the single greatest thing I've seen emerge in our collective struggle to bring an end to the bullying and help end the teen suicides, gay and straight alike.
The Monster March is a teen-created and teen-led protest marking a critical responsibility shift in solving our nation's deadly bullying problem. This October, more than 10,000 of us teens from across the nation and around the world will march through the streets of San Francisco in what we plan to make "The Largest Teen Protest In History." We will draw unprecedented awareness as we step into our power and claim our role in creating and putting into action our anti bullying solutions only teenagers can ensure work. 
So, who is Christi O'Connor?  I can't answer that in any other way than to say that she's a driven teen who's on a mission to make a huge difference in the lives of the teens who are bullied, to the families and friends of those who have committed suicide because of bullying.   Read her email to me for yourself:
I’ve read a lot of what you write on bullying. Thank you. I’m the founder of the national youth led Monster March Against Bullying with The Rodemeyers, The Mowrys and many other bullying families behind our teens. Last Monday, we flew five headline making bullying families and many teens from around the country to help launch The Monster March.
We would love your help spreading the news of our teens’ invite to Lady Gaga and to President Obama to be at our 10,000 teen march against bullying in San Francisco this October. If you can ask all your followers to Tweet both letting them know your fans want both to join us, it will boost our profile and more teens will join us. The October march is just the celebratory finale of our teens’ year long campaign of projects they’re leading online, in classrooms and everywhere they can influence peers.
They want to recruit every teen they can.
Check out our FB page and our “Top 10 Teen Solutions” list. We change it every two weeks pushing to the top, the best in that time frame.
Also everything we have in our “Photos.”
Our teens include best friends and siblings of bullied teens from all over the country who’ve killed themselves. These teens are committed (
Go to
Christi O’Connor
Founder “The Monster March Against Bullying”
Amazing stuff.  And, she has a point:  for all the work we adults do, or try to do, to end this madness, ultimately it will be up to them, the teens, to take matters in their own hands and say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"!!!  That message coming from us, the concerned citizens, adults, and parents, carries some weight.  Things ARE happening albeit slowly.  However, that same message coming from THOUSANDS of teens is going to be impossible to ignore.  Add to their cause such influential, anti-bullying people as Lady Gaga and President Barack Obama, and the entire WORLD will have no choice but to stand up and take notice. (disclaimer:  as of this writing, invitations have been sent to Lady Gaga and the POTUS.  It's not confirmed, yet, that either will be in attendance.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.)  The family of Jamey Rodemeyer will be there in support of the Monster March Against Bullying, as will Jonah Mowry and his family.  I'm hoping that, by the time October rolls into San Francisco, many more family and friends of victims of bullying will be there in attendance.

The video attached to the email was the clencher.  Sixteen-year-old Liane, makes a very strong case for everyone to get involved by driving home the question "What are you waiting for?"  She had just lost a friend to suicide at the time she recorded the video.  The pain, the anguish!, is very visible on her face.  And, that pain isn't isolated.  That pain and anguish is, sadly, shared all over the world every single day as yet another teenager ends their own life. 

So, my question is the same:  What ARE you waiting for?  Every 18 minutes, another teenager ends his or her life.  And, for every successful suicide attempt, there's 25 others who THANKFULLY didn't success.  We've got an epidemic.  But, you don't need me to tell you that.  I think that much is crystal clear.  What I do need to remind people, I feel, is that there's still lots and lots of work that needs to be done before we're able to claim victory.  Worse, rest assured that for everyone of "us" who are working hard and long to make a difference, there's just as many if not more of "them" working just as hard and long to negate all of our efforts. 

We will win this hard-fought battle.  I have complete confidence in that and can say it with 100% conviction.  However, the victory will not come without a long of hands-on effort.  And, what will, in the end, make the biggest difference will be teens, like Brett Simpson, like Christi O'Connor standing firm as they say to "The Establishment" ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!  Let's do our part in making this Monster March Against Bullying an overwhelming success!  "Like" their facebook page.  Watch the video.  Share both as often as you can.  The world is changing, and Christi O'Connor is right at the forefront of that change.

Following Up on Cody Rogers, LGBT Teen Attacked at Party

Cody Rogers, an 18-year-old LGBT man in Oklahoma, was brutally attacked last weekend at a party attended by friends and a few homophobes.  The story took off.  There was a silver lining to the story, as well.

Rather than tuck his tail and wilt under the attack, Cody rose to the occasion.  Rather than shrink back into the closet and lock the door, Cody was embolded.  He set up a facebook page to join the war against ignorance, intolerance, and violence against the LGBT community.  The page quickly took off.  As of this writing, it already has just under 10,000 members.  Most of them are well-wishers, some adding pictures along with the encouraging words.  It's been heartwarming watching the encouragement come literally from around the world. 

The most important thing to come from this travesty, however, is the fire that's been lit under Cody Rogers.  Met head-on with what, until last weekend, was the kind of hatred and nviolence towards the LGBT community he'd only heard of or read about, Cody is now determined to spearhead a movement of change. 

In the state he lives, Oklahoma, their federal anti-discrimination laws do not protect the LGBT community.  Because of that, his attacker was charged with the laughable crime of simple assault.  Such a ridiculous charge could possibly bring him a sentence of cleaning up trash along the highway for a weekend.  He couldn't be charged with what he should've been charged with because, in Oklahoma, it's apparently ok to hate members of the LGBT community, to be intolerant towards them, to commit acts of violence against them.  That has to be the case; otherwise, there would be laws on the book to protect them.  At the very least, they would've been included in the protection of the federal anti-discrimination laws, which would've made last week's unwarranted attack a hate crime.  Instead, incredibly, they were excluded.

Cody has started a petition to get the wheels in motion that will bring about change in his state.  Remember, this is the same state that, just a month ago, a teacher was going to fail her student for the crime of writing an essay about same-sex marriage.  Thanks to your emails, letters, and phone calls!!, that teacher had a change of heart and there was a happy ending to the story.  Now, we need those same numbers, and more!, to come to Cody Roger's aid and sign this petition!!  Before we knew there was a Cody Rogers in the world, we showed Oklahoma that there is definitely power in numbers.  I think they need a reminder.