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

Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa

From Lemons to the Sweetest Lemonade

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I am an administrator on one of the facebook pages set up in honor of Jamie Hubley.  It’s an outstanding community of loving, sharing, and caring.  In that community, I’ve met people who are now very dear to me, people I consider true friends, and people who are more of my family than any of the posers who share my same blood.  Also in that community are many of Jamie’s family members and friends.  I guess that’s what makes it so special.

One of the people in that group is Steph.  Steph and Jamie were friends for 10 years before his October suicide.  Steph is a breath of fresh air.  Being a normal teen, she’s gone through everything that most teens go through, including the bullying.  And, she’s stronger because of it.  So strong, in fact, she’s begun doing motivational speaking in her area to other teens.

Her story is one that will resonate with other young people.  I know it will because tonight, for the first time, Steph shared her story with us.  See, she was getting picked on because of who she is and where she is in life.  Her head sticks just a bit above the crowd.  You know what happens next.  True to form, the verbal tomatoes began to fly.  Rather than wilt under the weight of their criticisms, Steph opted to respond.  She did more than respond.  She knocked the wind straight out of their sails.

Inside “the Jamie community”, which is what it’s called by many, we get a lot of people who are hurting, in one way or another.  Sometimes, it gets really intense as we do have young people within the community who sometimes feel there’s no other way out.  The word is out, though, that this is definitely a go-to spot for people who are in need, young and not-so-young.  There’s never, ever a shortage of people who are there ready to give a listen and help out to the best of their ability.  Never.  And, there’s Steph.  She is always one of the ones who are right there in the thick of it all when things intensify.  She’s truly a remarkable girl, and she’s changing lives.

Life dealt her a lot of lemons from a very early age.  With them, she’s made some of the sweetest lemonade you’ll find anywhere.

Ottawa Loses Another 15-Year-Old to Suicide

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I saw this video posted on a memorial page for another 15-year-old Ottawan who just recently committed suicide. I didn’t want to watch it at first, hoping that it was just an old video that I’d missed. That’s the effect so many suicides is having on me. Alas, I was wrong.

On Wednesday, December 28th, 15-year-old Ian Stone ended his life. There are no details about it, so we won’t read anything into it. No mention of being bullied. No mention of having issues because of his sexuality. No answers. The only answer needed right now is that the family and friends of this 15-year-old are in a lot of grief. I wish I could post a link for you to go pay your condolences. That’s not the case.

If there’s a silver lining to this recent spate of suicides, it’s that people are seriously, and finally, getting fed up of reading about these. Hearing about these. And, people are rolling up their sleeves and getting involved. They’re getting involved at the ground level, where it’s needed the most. Young people are volunteering their time to their peers who may be at-risk and in need. Multiple support groups are popping up daily, if not faster, on the online social networks. Some are blogging about it. People are getting involved in great numbers. Obviously, we need more.

For now, we send our condolences to the family and friends of Ian Stone as we say goodbye. And, we say, collectively, Rest in Peace to one more young soul we never knew but will never forget. Then, we vow to him, and to all of the other teen suicide victims before him, that we’ll never give up fighting to make things change. We’ll never stop until teenaged suicide is a thing of the past.

Written by Ron Kemp

January 2, 2012 at 2:55 am

Happy Birthday, Jamie Hubley

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You know, 40 short days ago, I had no idea in the world who Jamie Hubley was.  In the days since then, however, his name, his voice, and even his spectacularly handsome image is known to people all around the globe.  On October 14th, Jamie ended his young life.  Being 15 years old and openly gay had its price as Jamie was yet another victim of homophobic bullying.  Being 15 years old, openly gay, enduring bullying, and having clinical depression on top of that proved to be too much weight to carry.  In his short time here, Jamie was already making a major impact on people’s lives.  According to his father, in a recorded interview, Jamie just loved people and wanted to make a difference.  According to Jamie, in his now-defunct tumblr blog, “I just want to feel special to someone”.  Today, the things he wished for and wanted are coming to fruition:  he is making a difference in people’s lives around the globe; he is very special in the hearts of thousands and, perhaps, over a million people from that same geographic location.  To be sure, as of this day, I can still say I never “knew” him.  I can say, however that he has had a profound impact on my life.  See, Jamie Hubley is why you’re reading this.  Jamie Hubley gave me my voice.  As a singer/songwriter by profession, and as a gay man, I’d ALWAYS taken the issue of gay teen suicide very seriously.  I’d been trying to bring awareness to the issue for a couple decades.  I’d written about it in a few of my songs.  It wasn’t enough.  I needed to get more deeply involved in helping to bring about change.  This very blog is in Jamie’s honor.

Today, November 23rd, 2011 is Jamie’s sweet 16th birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, JAMIE!!!  You are loved by many.

My New Voice

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Recent tragic events have served to give me, finally, my true voice. I’ve often written about gay teen suicide in my lyrics hoping, I guess, that someone, somewhere who was truly at risk would hear the songs and reconsider. Not enough. I took this particular suicide very personally even though if he were alive today, I wouldn’t know him from the man in the moon. Doesn’t matter. I know him now. He’s directly and incredibly touched my life in a very deep way.jamie HubleyTo say “things will never be the same” is cliche at best, moot at the least. I can’t say this any clearer or directly: I want gay teen (and, ANY teen!) suicide eradicated. And, I won’t stop raising awareness…ever. That’s my gift to you, Jamie Hubley, as a tribute to your life and as a thank you for giving me my voice.