(Keene, NH) Vigil of Hope, Rock the Purple, R.I.P. and Keep Spirit Alive identify memorial events occurring across the country on Wednesday, October 20. These gatherings are intended to bring attention to the tragic youth suicides due to anti-gay bullying that have occurred between July and September, 2010. Nine young men ages 13-19, and one woman age 19, took their own lives when constant harassment in their schools and communities, coupled with lack of hope and support, converged to create circumstances beyond their capacity to cope.
AIDS Services for the Monadnock Region will host a Keep Spirit Alive candlelight vigil on 10/20 in Central Square, Keene. Participants are asked to wear purple, the color representing spirit on the Pride Rainbow Flag, and begin gathering at 5:30. A brief program, music, and speak-out for attendees will begin at 6p. Candles will be provided.
Agency Board Chair, Arne Grandell, invites the community to take a stand in unison against homophobia and bullying. “These young adults chose to end their lives because they did not feel safe. They lost hope and we lost their contributions to the world all too soon. No one will ever know the exact the moment when it became too much for them to bear, but we do know how to change the dynamic. Everyone must do more to ensure this tragedy does not happen in the Monadnock Region. Turning a blind eye is not an option.”
The following individuals who committed suicide will be remembered: Justin Aaberg, age 15 of Minnesota, died 7/9; Billy Lucas, age 15 of Indiana, died 9/9; Cody Barker, age 17 of Wisconsin, died 9/13; Seth Walsh, age 13 of California, died 9/19; Asher Brown, age 13 of Texas, died 9/23; Tyler Clementi, age 18 of New Jersey, died 9/29; Raymond Chase, age 19 of Rhode Island, died 9/29; Caleb Nolt, age 14 of Indiana, died 9/30; Aiyisha Hassan, age 19 of California, died 10/5; and Zach Harrington, age 19 of Oklahoma, died 10/10.
For more information, call the agency at 357-6855. AIDS Services for the Monadnock Region is funded in part by the Monadnock United Way, City of Keene and Broadway Cares.