As news of five suicides committed by youth who were targeted with homophobic harassment has spread across the country, the production company I work with, GroundSpark , and our distribution partner, New Day Films, have redoubled our commitment to helping communities do a much better job of addressing anti-LGBT bias, particularly in school.
Please share this “Spark” on your Facebook page, website, or by emailing it to friends.
We are making some of our tools available for free for the next two months in an effort to get them out far and wide during this time of intense public awareness.
But we need your help. And I don’t just mean by sending a donation.
We need your help in shaping the public conversation and getting these powerful tools into the right hands.
There is a lot of talk right now about more stringent laws and punishment for bullying. We definitely need strong, federal and state anti-bullying legislation. The full solution, though, involves much more than tough laws and rules.
We need to go deeper and address the underlying ignorance and stereotypes that contribute so painfully to the bullying epidemic. We need to build a culture of empathy and compassion. We need to get everyone on board—every student, every parent, and every adult who works with youth.
In recent days, many excellent new initiatives have popped up to support LGBT-identified students and their allies. GroundSpark is building on the good work of our sister organizations by sharing what we do best: sparking the transformation of whole schools from places of conflict and alienation to communities of respect and support.
We know from experience that people get inspired and motivated when they can see moving examples of honest, caring discussion about tough issues like bias-based harassment.
That’s what GroundSpark—through our films, curriculum guides and trainings—can provide. So for the first time our curriculum guides are available for free online and parents and students can stream our films for free into their homes.
Talking about how all students are negatively affected by anti-gay bias, no matter how they identify, is not easy. Nor is talking about stigmas regarding gender norms, race and class. But we have been doing this work, thoughtfully, and with great success for close to fifteen years.
To do our job well, though, particularly at this moment, we need you to help us spread the word.
You can help us reach out to the parents —of the youth who do the bullying, the youth who are scared to death to speak up on a classmate’s behalf for fear of being targeted themselves, the ones who don’t know what to do when their own kids are harassed.
You can help us reach the science teachers, baseball coaches, janitors, and school bus drivers so they understand that it is an important part of their job descriptions to model how to respond to anti-gay slurs.
You can help us give administrators and guidance counselors support and tools to launch in-depth dialogues and school-wide commitments that address bias and prejudice in serious, constructive ways, and not just through discipline.
Please take a moment to share GroundSpark’s Respect for All Project with everyone you know who cares about youth. We’ve brought together our best tools on addressing bias, particularly homophobia.
Just click here and you’ll see how easy it is to get started.
We’re committed to change. Join us. ‘
(director of these films)
P.S. Stream our Respect for All Project films, download our in-depth curriculum guides, get a film at a discount rate, make a donation, and share the spark. But please get involved. Start talking. Take action.