An Open Letter On Bullying
Editor’s Note: This first appeared as a response to Friday’s article on Richmond’s response to Jamey Rodemeyer’s suicide and appears as-is.
why not take a step beyond personal feelings and reactions the sad story of Jamey Rodemeyer and engage Virginia lawmakers? Personal and local responses are great, but stopping a continuing rise of lgbt youth suicides and other self-harm, depression and other emotional pain, alcohol and other substance abuse, because of bullying, threats and other anti-lgbt violence, requires state-level leadership as well.
Delegate Rob Bell ( House of Delegates, 58th District, Republican) – email to DelRBell@house.virginia.gov (find out more at http://leg1.state.va.us/
He is sincerely sensitive to bullying issues, and is sensitive enough to meet with and speak with lgbt constituents. I took a room-full to discuss bullying issues with him this year, including lgbt community (parents, youth, professionals, etc) but he needs a ‘push’ from across Virginia to take leadership in his Republican Party to turn away from the pervasive anti-lgbt prejudice in his Party, and perhaps throughout the Legislature, and Administration.
Send him - DelRBell@house.virginia.gov - a note - telling him :
- ‘thanks’ for being a leader in addressing bullying in Virginia schools;
- how important it is to you and your family and community to stop bullying of all kinds harming Virginia youth, and to stop violence of all kinds experienced by lgbtq persons, families, and communities (personal stories are important; you might share story by telling ‘I know someone who …’ if you want to keep your own story confidential);
- asking him to take leadership in his Republican Party, and in the House of Delegates, to strengthen appropriate measures and to increase effective resources to stop all bullying, and especially to prevent and respond to rising anti-lgbt bullying;
- telling him that the state’s anti-lgbt legal and policy environment tell youth to look forward to an adulthood where ‘IT DOES NOT GET BETTER’. Virginia anti-lgbt laws and policies tell youth, and tell parents, and tell businesses, and to tell anyone who might consider moving to Virginia, that Virginia is not a safe place to grow up lgbt, not a secure place to be a lgbt parent, not a fair place to be a lgbt worker, resident, or taxpayer, not a welcoming place to be a lgbt retiree or senior, etc. IT DOES NOT GET BETTER under an anti-lgbt legal regime.
Leadership is required at the state level. Delegate Rob Bell - DelRBell@house.virginia.gov - might be encouraged to accept this leadership.
(Note re: Del Bell and bullying legislation: http://
Edward Strickler’s Anabaptist ancestors were among the first euro-settlers in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He lives in rural Albemarle County with his partner of 30 years.
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