ronkempmusic

Let's work together against bullying and help bring the teen suicide rate down to zero

Posts Tagged ‘Lady Gaga

From the Mouths of Babes

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This is why I love Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook so much!  You don’t get this kind of story just anywhere.  One of their 360,000+ members sent in a letter that was written as a speech.  The writer?  Her 11-year old daughter, Leehem.  Leyla Hillman Farrell sent them this letter:

Hi Everyone,

My 11 year old daughter was asked by her teacher to write a speech on a particular topic that she feels very strongly about. As a straight ally, I am very proud to say that she chose gay rights, as her topic. Here is her speech. I hope this serves as a comfort in knowing that the upcoming generation (as young as 11) understand!!

It’s the letter from her 11-year-old daughter that steals the show.

Keep in mind that she’s 11-years-old.  SHE GETS IT!!!  She proves the point that hatred and intolerance are learned behaviors.  We may be “born this way”, as far as our sexual orientation is concerned; however, no one is born to hate or to be intolerant.

Hatred, and its evil twin intolerance, are behaviors that are taught to young people from other adults.  Sadly, in a lot of cases, those adults are right there in the same household and go by the names of “Mom” and “Dad”.  Or, maybe they’re learning it from listening to some of the politicians.  There’s no shortage of narrow-minded, hate-filled people calling themselves politicians these days.  OR, perhaps they even learned from Rev. Hatealot during their Sunday church services.  There’s a lot of that going on these days.  They confuse me.  I was always taught that God is love. (says so right in that same Bible)  However, the “God” they talk about is mean and hateful.  Or, is it just them…using “God” as a smoke screen for their own hatred.  As I see it, teaching hate and intolerance takes effort; however, being loving, caring, understanding, and accepting is natural.  We’re born that way.

The bright side of it is that Leehem is showing us something that I’ve been alluding to a lot:  the future is bright and in good hands.  The young ones know, as we all did at one point in our lives, that love is love.  Everybody has the equal right to love whomever he or she happens to fall in love with.  No laws to regulate it.  No Bible verse to condemn it.  No backwards, hillbilly, myopic-minded “pastor” bringing his protesting “congregation” around with handmade signs of ignorance.(sorry, Fred.  Couldn’t resist.)  Just the freedom, the God-given freedom, to love whomever we love.  It’s really just that simple.  We were born that way.

Great job, Leehem!  You’re going to be a great leader someday.  And, AWESOME job raising your daughter, Leyla.  You are obviously a wonderful person full of love and compassion, yourself.  You were obviously born that way.

Celebrating Acceptance: Dad gets “Born This Way” Tattoo!!

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What a marvelous story of acceptance!!  At a time when we’re grasping and struggling for acceptance, at a time when we’re losing teen after teen after LGBT teen to suicide because of a lack thereof, we get this heartwarming story from Jessica Romani about her brother, Dylan.

Dylan, who is bisexual, went through all of the usual trials and tribulations that nearly all LGBT teens experience.  He knew at a very young age that he was “different”.  He struggled with acceptance of himself!  And, of course, he was bullied.  Or, according to Jessica, he dealt with “extreme bullying”.

In Dylan’s own words, “…I was so scared of what he would do or think or say because he’s a tough guy and i am his only son so I didn’t want to be a disappointment or anything.”  That sounds familiar.  What he found, instead, was the surprise of his life.  Fred Romani, the dad, in an amazing show of unconditional love and acceptance, got the Lady Gaga-inspired catch-phrase, “Born This Way” tattooed in Italian on his wrist.  Dylan already had it on his.  You have to watch the video to see the reaction to it.

When I read Jessica’s and Dylan’s description of their dad, the image comes to mind of the stereotypical testosterone-driven Italian male.  Sylvester Stallone.  Santino Corleone.  Fred Romani showed, however, that macho men also have a heart.  Especially when it comes to family.  Even moreso, I would say, when it comes to his only son!  It’s that show of unconditional love and acceptance, even if he doesn’t yet fully understand what his son is going through, that makes the most significant difference.  It’s that acceptance that, say, EricJames Borges was looking for but got the opposite, instead.  And, we know where that led.  The mental and emotional health of young Dylan Romani grew exponentially by Fred’s gesture of support.  That’s what makes this story so important.  And, quite touching.

I first viewed this video, and story, yesterday on Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook, the social network super page that is helping so many people, LGBT and straight alike, and saving lives.  It’s stories like this that makes us realize that love really is winning the war over hate.  For Fred, an old school Italian dad, to reach out to his young, struggling son with such a loving gesture, and then to see Dylan’s caught-off-guard, stunned reaction speaks volumes to the power of love and acceptance.

The hope, of course, is that this video will catch on and go viral so that people all over the world can see with their own eyes the sheer power of unconditional love and acceptance.  Dylan’s tears of joy say it all.  If more families showed their LGBT teens this type of support….  Well, you know.  Let’s hope that this video is a harbinger of things to come.

Monster March Against Bullying

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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:

Ron,
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 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVzNKZpqDDo)

Go to http://www.facebook.com/youthvoicetv

Warmly,

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.

Lady Gaga Bringing Her Anti-Bullying Campaign to Maryland!!??

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Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley has invited pop icon Lady Gaga to Maryland to speak on eliminating bullying in Maryland.  So, what does that mean?  To me, it means that this issue is finally getting the attention that it’s deserved for years.  It means that people in powerful places are now taking notice and making an effort.

I can tell you this much:  If our Governor can pull this off, I will be right there in attendance when Gaga comes to Maryland.  And, if it does happen, I will be on the front line (what’s new?) attempting to rally more people to attend, take notice, and make a difference.  Either way, kudos to you, Mr. Governor, for even making the attempt.  It’s definitely a step in the right direction.

In another piece of fantastic, positive news, facebook has launched its own suicide prevention chat service!  With just over 1/10th of the world’s population being on the social networking giant, that’s potentially a massive tool!  I know from my own brief experience at this that, whereas funneling these people to the right professional so that they can get the help they desperately need, being able to have somebody to chat with it their moment of crisis has proven over and over to be so vital.  So, thank you, facebook, for stepping up your efforts.

I  want to acknowledge my very dear friend and fellow front-line warrior is this battle against bullying and to prevent teen suicide, Maureen.  Thanks for posting this information.  You’re the best!

Written by Ron Kemp

December 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm