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The Future of Equality

Parenting as an Upstander

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As a parent, my heart breaks whenever I learn that someone is being bullied or humiliated. Jane Clementi reminds anyone who will listen that her son, Tyler Clementi, made a permanent decision to a temporary situation. I recall hearing news of the terrible events leading up to September 22, 2010, and I can only imagine his loneliness, pain and despair—the innocence of the first few weeks as a freshman on campus ending in tragedy.

Yes, schools can be a place of learning, friendship and joy, but for too many youth, school remains an obstacle course full of hurdles that bar them from a safe and equitable education. Sadly, the workplaces and houses of worship can be equally challenging.

In our increasingly polarizing political climate and unmonitored online communities, it is today’s youth who are most at risk. Since November 2016 alone, the Southern Poverty Law Center has documented an intense increase in racism, homophobia and Islamophobia across the nation. Incidents involving hate, harassment or bias are all too common and weaponizing social media has only exacerbated the problem.

Yet, bullying is 100% preventable and that is why the Tyler Clementi Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, works upstream, to stop it before it begins.

As a parent and an ally to the LGBTQ community, I support the Tyler Clementi Foundation because of its focus on prevention. As business owners, professionals and decision-makers in our organizations, we must do more to protect individuals who are being targeted online and offline. It’s likely that your co-workers, neighbors or even your family members are in need of support right now.

Become an Upstander

You can bring the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s message of kindness and inclusion to your workplace, school or place of worship. Here are four ways to prevent bullying with the help of the Tyler Clementi Foundation:

  1. Bring #Day1 to your place of business or to a teacher at your children’s school! The Foundation’s primary prevention program is #Day1, a free, simple and effective tool available online and intended to help teachers and employers foster a culture of kindness, empower upstanders and encourage an ongoing conversation about inclusion. Materials are available in multiple languages and appropriate for groups spanning elementary school to the workplace. Rooted in research, #Day1 works, which is why it has been embraced by schools, colleges and universities and large corporate brands alike. Visit tylerclementi.org/day1 for more information.
  2. Offer parents in your workforce an anti-bullying training module from a leading provider of employee assistance programs. In partnership with Workplace Options, a leading workplace services provider to companies worldwide, the Tyler Clementi Foundation offers an anti-bullying curriculum to help adults identify, approach, discuss and resolve youth bullying issues with the young people in their lives. The seminar finds parents and caregiving adults where they are—at work —and strives to help them recognize when their child (or young loved one) is the victim of bullying, or the bully themselves. This content is available online as a lunch-and-learn led by Workplace Options without charge in exchange for a donation to the Tyler Clementi Foundation. If you would like more information please send an email to WPOGLSTraining@workplaceoptions.com.
  3. Celebrate with us. Another way to show your support is by sponsoring or attending the Annual Upstander Legacy Celebration. The ULC is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year. This is an intimate affair where the Foundation’s co-founders and other thought leaders gather with friends and supporters to honor those who are making a difference in the anti-bullying movement. This year’s event will be held in New York City on Monday, November 13, 2017 at the beautiful Prince George Ballroom. Visit youtube.com/user/tylerclementifund to see highlights from past events, and head to tylerclementi.org/ULC to learn how you or your organization can become a visible supporter of this festive event. Sponsorships begin at $500, and tickets are $225 each until September 14th.
  4. Make a tax-deductible gift to help keep these and other anti-bullying programs free and easily accessible to those that need it most! The Tyler Clementi Foundation is working hard to ensure that its comprehensive suite of bullying-prevention services and resources remain cutting edge, free and most of all easily accessible to those who need them most. You can also inquire about the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s corporate programs, partnership opportunities or sponsoring the Upstander Speaker Series by contacting jonill@tylerclementi.org.

The Tyler Clementi Foundation would love to have your support; just tell them Robin sent you. Together we can create a safer and more just world for our youth, and for each other.

Sincerely,

Robin R. Dillard
Marie’s mom and Tyler Clementi Foundation Board Member

Business Equality Pride (BEQPride) is the first publication from the BEQ family of national print and digital magazines exclusively addressing the needs of LGBTQ small-to-medium sized businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals.