Friday, October 8, 2010

IPN to Hold 10/20/10 Vigil to Make it Better

In memory of those who have died because of anti-gay bullying and harassment, Iowa Pride Network will be holding a vigil on October 20th at 7:30 pm at the West Capitol Terrace (the park/steps just west of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines). The vigil also serves as a call to action to make our schools and communities safe for all students.

MAKE A SIGN: If you plan to attend we encourage you to make a sign briefly describing what you will do to help stop bullying (example: I will stand up for friends that are harassed, I am an ally of LGBT people, I will start a Gay-Straight Alliance, etc.). And, if you are comfortable, please also include your name, and a noun that describes you (example: student, teacher, parent, etc.). At the end, you may donate your sign for a future display designed to show there are many things that friends, family and allies can do to stop bullying.

On this date, thousands of people across America will be wearing purple in memory of those who have been bullied and those who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse.

Please come to show your support for ending bullying and anti-gay violence and remembering the lives that were lost in the past few weeks: Billy Lucas, Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Raymond Chase, and others.

As Ellen Degeneres stated, "One life lost is a tragedy. [Five] is a crisis". Join us to show that the state of Iowa cannot and will not stand for ANY disrespect and bigotry in our schools or in our communities.

Please spread the word.

Click HERE for map. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

IPN to Disucss Bullying/Suicide on IPR Tomorrow

Iowa Pride Network Executive Director Ryan Roemerman will be on Iowa Public Radio's "Talk of Iowa" program tomorrow morning (October 5th) to discuss bullying and suicide prevention.

A string of recent news stories surrounding anti-gay bullying and teen suicide has increased awareness of this growing problem.  Roemerman will spotlight data from the 2009 Iowa School Climate Survey and what Iowa's students, teachers, families and communities can do to help.

The program will also discuss the "It Gets Better" Project, created in response to the suicide of 15-year-old Indiana teenager Billy Lucas, who hanged himself in his family's barn after enduring bullying from his classmates. Writer Dan Savage is reaching out to LGBT teenagers to let them know life may be difficult now, but "it gets better."

IPR's Charity Nebbe will speak with Savage; Roemerman; and Jeremy Youde of the University of Minnesota at Duluth from 10 to 11am on WOI 640 AM Radio in Ames/Des Moines and WSUI 910 AM Radio in Iowa City/Cedar Rapids.

Please visit IPR's website to find out what station to tune to in your area.

Asher Brown (pictured above) an eighth-grader, killed himself last week. He shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment from four other students at Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. Brown, his family said, was "bullied to death" — picked on for his small size, his religion and because he did not wear designer clothes and shoes. Kids also accused him of being gay, some of them performing mock gay acts on him in his physical education class, his mother and stepfather said.