To the editor:
The recent news coverage about the five young people who have taken their own lives as a result of relentless anti-gay bullying at their schools has shocked and dismayed the country. Most people are heartsick that these children, some as young as 13, saw no other way to escape the pain and humiliation they were feeling.
Their story is occurring as part of a much larger one - the many children in our communities across the country, perhaps hundreds of thousands of them, who are suffering from bullying and harassment by their peers. These children are victimized simply because they are seen as different: They're either too fat or too thin, too small or too quiet; they're not good enough at sports, or they're not popular; they're a different color or speak another language. The "reasons" go on and on.
These children's parents, like those of the dead teens, try hard to keep them safe, but it often isn't enough. It is clear that the safety of our children is the job of our entire community, that the whole community needs to teach and model love, that we all need to encourage our children to value difference; at the same time we seek the sameness in all. Our children look to us for guidance, and we can't let them down.
A number of us wanted to pay tribute to those gay teens that have died in recent weeks, but also to make a commitment to community and greater compassion. The Adirondack Unitarian Universalist Community is sponsoring a service towards these ends. The entire community is invited to join us on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. at Historic Saranac Lake, 89 Church St.
Together, we can love more.