Sunday, April 8, 2012

Our Youth Will Lead The Way

It's been a very hard past 24 hours for me.  With Kenny Wolf being from Maryland and from my old neighborhood, I've taken his suicide exceptionally hard.  I think it peeled the scab off of my own old wound from when I lost my friend so many years ago.  If you haven't already, go wrap your cyber arms around his family and friends.  They really need it right now.  That community is reeling.  And, frankly, so am I.

So, what's going to get us out of this bleak period we're in right now?  A point-in-time where young people are ending their lives at such an alarming rate, it takes your breath away.  A time when young people feel it's okay or acceptable to say and do things to their peers that are just so mean and vile that it pushes kids to take their own lives?  A sorrowful time when we have so-called political and religious "leaders" essentially sanctioning hatred and intolerance towards people they've decided are nonfactors?  I think the better question is who will lead us out of this madness.  The answer really comes as no surprise.  It will be the youth of our society.

All around us, young people are stepping up and taking charge of their lives and their future.  In so doing, they're paving the way to a brighter future for generations to come.  Truth be told, at the end of the day, it will have to be our youth.  This is their war.  Sure, it's affecting all of us in the process, but so does any war.  This one is no different.  As with any war, families and friends are the collateral damage, the ones left behind to pick up the shattered pieces as they try to make sense of it all. 

The "calvary" is coming.  Their young army is growing stronger each day and fighting a fierce battle.

Brett Simpson has taken his own negative experiences with severe bullying because of his sexual orientation and turned them into a positives.  He's created a community for all struggling teens, and specifically LGBT struggling teens.  He reached out to them, and they have reached back.  The community is very interactive.  He is well-liked and greatly appreciated by the over 600 (and, growing!) members of his community.  That's huge!!!  That's 600+ young people caring, sharing, growing and healing together!

Christi O'Connor is spearheading the Monster March Against Bullying that will be held in San Francisco in October.  Her goal is to have at least 10,000 teens from around the country, and around the world!, families and friends of victims of bullying and suicide, march to the steps of City Hall in San Francisco to make sure their voices are heard, loudly and definitively, as they deliver the message this must end.  The Rodemeyers will be with here.  Jonah Mowry and his family will be with here.

The students of Cypress Ranch High School, in Cypress, TX, made this very powerful anti-bullying video to send the message that bullying, in their school, isn't cool.  Watch the video.  Then, share it.

And, the students of DeLeSalle High School in Minnesota, let their voices be heard in no uncertain fashion this week when a Catholic priest visited their school and, amongst other things, compared homosexuality to bestiality.  They sounded rejected his notion that adopted kids or kids from single-parent homes are "socially unstable".  Of course, his message was that the only path to "normality" is through so-called traditional marriages, traditional families, Ward and June Cleaver, the whole nine yards.  But, the young students didn't buy into it and let him know!! 

See!!!  The youth of today get it!!  And, it will be the youth who will, at the end of the day, turn our culture around.  That doesn't mean we, the older generations, back out of the battle by any stretch of the imagination.  For me, at least, it means we fight even harder.  Ever try standing up for someone who really didn't care if you did or not?  I have.  These young people are finding their voice, through us perhaps, and they're hitting their stride.  Don't worry:  when it's time for them to take over, we'll know.