Updated 10/11/2010 07:54 PM
Ithaca College students take message of hope online
On a day when individuals are encouraged to speak out for equality, students at Ithaca College are spreading their own message. Monday marked National Coming Out Day and as our Tamara Lindstrom reports, a wave of suicides by bullied teens has students coming out to show their support.
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ITHACA, N.Y. – "Right now, you may be feeling marginalized, alone, hopeless. But the most important thing for you to realize is that there are people who care."
A message of hope for teens who have been bullied and harassed because of their sexual orientation. Students and staff at Ithaca College lined up to share their stories Monday, for a video they hope will make a difference.
"It's important to get a message out to individuals who may be feeling picked on or feel despair that it does get better," said college president Tom Rochon.
The project was organized by students.
"My initial idea was to just have the four of us make a quick video," said senior Matthew Timmons. "And then Rob said 'Let's see if we can get a couple of people from across campus.' So we made a Facebook event."
The students were stunned when in a matter of hours, the campus community responded with an outpouring of support. They lined up by the hundreds to share their words of hope.
"Within less than 12 hours, we had over 150 people click just that they were attending the event," Timmons said. "So it really exploded into something that's pretty awesome."
The video will be submitted to the "It Gets Better Project."
"The It Gets Better Project was started just a couple of weeks ago by a newspaper columnist and author Dan Savage in response to some of the recent suicides of young LGBT and questioning youth across the county," said LGBT outreach director Lis Maurer. "His aim, I believe, was to present youth with an alternative view that as people age and mature that things literally can get better."
The videos, some made by celebrities, have been viewed well over a million times, with people submitting their own testimonials by the hundreds.
"And that's something we should all remember, too, when we're feeling attacked or unappreciated," Rochon said. "Most people out there, perhaps silently, are in our corner."
And the lesson to take home?
"Be nice!" Timmons said. "Everyone is different. There is not one person who is the same. So don't take these differences and turn them into hatred."
Something that might do us all good to remember.
The video will be posted online and submitted to the "It Gets Better Project" channel.
For a link to the website, visit www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject#p/f/0/7IcVyvg2Qlo.