Thursday, September 23, 2010

Movement from Tragedy

Billy Lucas was a 15 year old kid from Indiana who didn't fit in at his school. As a result, he was the target of bullying and regularly called "fag". This had a tragic result - Billy committed suicide on Sept 9th.

From a local news channel:  It was alleged bullying that, according to the Billy Lucas Memorial Facebook page, caused the outgoing freshman to take his own life.

"He was threatened to get beat up every day," friend and classmate Nick Hughes said. "Sometimes in classes, kids would act like they were going to punch him and stuff and push him."

Friends of Lucas say that he had been tormented for years.

"Some people at school called him names," Hughes said, saying most of those names questioned Lucas' sexual orientation, and that Lucas, for the most part, did little to defend himself. He would try to but people would just try to break him down with words and stuff and just pick on him," Hughes said.

This tragedy follows a string of other youth suicides that were the result of harassment and bullying. Schools and districts across the country are creating or amending policies to attempt to address the growing problem and protect their youth, however most DO NOT protect the youth from harassment/bullying due to gender or sexual orientation - which leaves kids like Billy out in the cold, so to speak.

Billy's tragic story is catching national attention quickly. One person who was particularly moved by it is Seattle advice columnist, author and activist Dan Savage.
He has since launched the "It Gets Better Project" - a Youtube channel currently seeking video submissions from adults in the GLBTQ community sharing their stories of surviving harassment and how they've moved on to find happiness in their lives since.

When asked why he created the channel, Dan said "I put up a link to the [Billy's] story and someone said in a comment that they wished they could have talked to the kid for five minutes to tell him it gets better." read more of the article...

If you are being bullied or know someone who is and want to talk about it, give Teen Link a call. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

9 years ago...

Written on September 11, 2010 by a Teen Link volunteer...

I have never written a blog post before. I have no idea what type of etiquette blog posts usually follow. Instead of doing a news report like the previous blog posts, I'll do a commemoration, of sorts. 

I've been waiting to write this post for the whole week. I didn't get a chance during the week and I'm glad I didn't. What better topic to talk about than the 9/11 terrorist attacks 9 years ago on this day? The attack that killed 2,977 victims and the 19 hijackers. There was also a secondary death. This man died from lung disease due to the dust from the collapsing of the Twin Towers.  

I started working on this blog post by first, watching Flight 93. This was a TV film that came out back in 2006 which is not to be confused with United 93, a feature film from back in 2006 as well. Confusing much? Anyways,   initially I watched the film to write my feelings toward the one plane of the four hijackings that did not make it to the target. Later I realized it would be a lot easier to just summarize the movie.

United Airlines Flight 93 was one of the four terrorist hijackings on September 11, 2001. What made the Flight 93 hijacking different was the fact that it never made it to its target, which was later determined to be the United States Capitol Building. The reason the plane never made it to the target was because the passengers teamed up and attempted to take control of the plane. When the terrorists realized they couldn't fight the passengers, they rolled the plane and crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. This brave attempt by the passengers to take control of the plane saved hundreds if not thousands of lives. 

There was a huge diversity of people who were at different stages in their lives. Husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and a pregnant woman. There was even a guy who was going to miss his flight but made it just in time for take off. 

The most amazing thing I learned from watching this movie was the security protocols before 9/11. They were so lenient. You could bring a freaking box knife on an airplane! That's just asking for trouble right there. 

I remembered that day quite clearly. I was only 5 years old. I was in first grade. I was so confused as to what actually happened. All I knew was two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. I'm thinking about it now. It's weird, trying to figure out why people do such crazy things. People who try to take other people's lives with them. 

RIP Victims of September 11, 2001 

To watch Flight 93 go to