A 2009 study by the Indicators of School Crime and Safety showed that 1/3 of teens reported being bullied at school. An even more alarming statistic showed that school bullying can be related to violent actions, including suicides outside of school. It is truly outrageous and heartbreaking to think of a young child or teen who thinks there is “no way out” that they actually contemplate taking and in some cases do take their own lives. A fellow WHS alum of mine, Michael Anthony is standing up and making an effort for change. It all started with this hilarious You Tube video.
Michael’s video sparked a reaction in many people and the documentary, For Billy: The Movie, was created. After posting the You Tube video, “It Gets Better:” “Michael received over 100 responses from friends and strangers alike; however, one letter in particular changed the course of Michael’s life. Simply signed “Billy”, this semi-anonymous note was written by a boy from Michael’s hometown, one who currently attended his very same high school. In the letter, Billy shared his personal struggle with his sexuality and the sadness it has created in his life – a story Michael found all too familiar.” I urge you to go to the For Billy: the movie website and read Billy’s letter, find out how you can help, donate and mark your calendars for the event: BE: The Exhibit on March 18th in Arlington Heights, IL. I asked Michael if I could write this blog because it is such an important message to send to kid and adults. He was kind enough to let me share this story and his objective of this documentary: “What do I hope to accomplish from this? My goal is this…You can’t change the world, but you CAN change conflicted hearts, the people that are on the border of accepting everyone. Maybe I can change 10 people in Wheeling. Maybe my media coverage can change 100 people in Illinois. Maybe this documentary can change 100 people in each state. That’s 5,000 people who, before, weren’t accepting or aware of our culture of bullying, homophobia and ignorance. 5,000 people can change the world, I think. That’s what I hope to accomplish.” Michael’s open heart and kindness gives me hope and I feel so proud to support his vision with this movement. If you have been following my blog, I hope you gather that I am a strong believer in accepting others for who they are. This is the quintessential time to act on that belief ! See you on the 18th and special thanks to Michael Anthony for the message, movie and motivation to stand up for our youth!!
Filed under: Beauty, Girl Talk, Health, Miscellaneous | Tagged: anti-bullying, bullies, bully, Chicago, diamoo productions, documentary, for billy: the movie, gay rights, help, high school, IL, it gets better, kindness, lgbtq, michael anthony, movie premiere, suicide, teen suicide, thewritemichaela, violence, wheeling |