Tag Archives: bullying

NCCJ announces Caleb Wilkie of Westfield as the 2012 Western Massachusetts Youth Human Relations Award Winner

10 Mar

The National Conference for Community and Justice is proud to announce Caleb Wilkie of Westfield High School as the recipient of NCCJ’s 2012 Western Massachusetts Youth Human Relations Award.  Caleb is 16, a junior at Westfield High School, and has earned this award for his courage in action as well as his relentless leadership in making his school a safe place for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youth through education and advocacy.

Caleb attended NCCJ’s premier social justice program, ANYTOWN, after finishing 8th grade.  Upon entering 9th grade at Westfield High, he immediately approached his guidance counselor, Alison Kelly, to talk about what he can do to bring what he learned at ANYTOWN back to his school.  He had just come out as gay to his family and friends (read his poignant story here), and immediately felt the prejudices of many around him.  He realized that the only way these prejudices can be changed is through education.  He led by example and allowed himself to be open about his experience and his struggle with coming out.  He bravely faced name-calling with kindness by allowing others to ask him questions, and seeing every act of cruelty as an opportunity to make someone an ally.

He joined the Gay Straight Alliance and recently became the President.  He organized a “teach-in” for Westfield High School faculty to learn more about the LGBT community and to teach them how to be effective allies.  He talked with the history department to include LGBT Rights Movements as part of the history curriculum.  He played an integral role in organizing Westfield’s first annual “A Mile in Your Shoes: A Walk for Change” that raised over $3,000 for the Kinship Fund. He convinced his school administration to bring NCCJ’s BRIDGES program to Westfield High three years in a row and as a result gained 75 peer allies committed to fighting prejudice at the school. Caleb also continues to be involved in various NCCJ programs.  He has been a counselor at the ANYTOWN program, was a speaker at The YES! Campaign Conference where he bravely shared his experience of being bullied in front of 400 youth, and has co-facilitated various workshops.

Caleb is truly a rock star and continues to inspire his peers and us with his leadership.  He embodies Mahatma Gandhi’s teaching of “be the change you wish to see in the world.”  We are so proud of his accomplishments and are excited to celebrate him at the 2012 NCCJ Human Relations Awards Banquet on June 12th at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

To celebrate Caleb at the 2012 Human Relations Award Banquet contact GiGi Paolantonio at 860-683-1039 ext. 105 or gpaolantonio@nccj.org.

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Caleb’s Story: I’ve learned that I would rather stand up than to silence myself by committing suicide.

14 Nov

Caleb!

Dear Diary – and to those of you who read this,

My name’s Caleb Rhys Wilkie, I’m sixteen years into this life, I attend Westfield High School (go Bombers!) as a junior, I’m close with my ridiculously large family, I have really good friends, and like many college-bound students at this age, I’m beyond stressed when it comes even to starting to look colleges. Oh! Also: I’m

Gay.

Catch-up:

I came out the summer after seventh grade (at age thirteen) slowly to friends. My goal by the end of eighth grade was to be out to 100 people, including family, and then have a big party. The party didn’t happen. However, I met and reached my goal of 100, doubled it, and then just figured what the hell and decided to tell everyone. I had guts. At thirteen I was openly gay. By fourteen, I had my first relationship ever, and it was going strong. It ended after five months but that’s a different story.  In the end, middle school wasn’t too shabby.

As I am still in High School, I can’t finalize my report on it; can’t judge it until it’s all over and it’s in the past. Although, one finding that won’t look so good on its record is that freshman year was full blown hell; with sophomore year being barely an improvement.

I fit the statistic: I am gay and I was hearing, “homo,” “faggot,” and “sissy” about 26 times a day or as statistics accurately state – once every fourteen minutes. I was being ignored. Sure, I had my friends, but the occasional talk with someone random in class would’ve been cool too. I had no one to relate to, there weren’t any other gay guys out in my school even though my school has 1600 kids.  I dreaded going to a few of my classes. The thought of being required to spend forty-six minutes in a class and be humiliated by kids while the teacher practiced the “ignorance is bliss” ideology Revolted me. Anyways, feeling alone and wanting to attract more gay people into my life, I figured I ought to change myself. I figured I ought to be more gay. I Googled “gay” to help. At that moment I became self-conscious. Google filled my screen with a bunch of pictures of beautiful men, all of them fit and in shape or skinny. Once again I felt alone – I didn’t fit into what the society’s idea of what a “real” gay guy is now – and of course I didn’t fit in with the straight people. I was friends with straight people, but I always felt I was not one of them. So I decided to be gayer in a different way.

I wore heels.

Yeah, that was a whole bunch of tiring fun. Being questioned nearly 24/7, laughed at, treated differently than I was the day before, being pushed, being tested to see if I could walk in them (I could), asked by teachers to give them a reason, talked about all over school, feeling intimidated to go to the bathroom, and then being yelled at by my mom when I got home for wearing the heels that I bought. The day I wore heels is the day that everything erupted. It’s the day I had an urge to commit suicide. I was done with being judged and being made fun of, being questioned, being ignored. I was done. Fortunately, I did not go through with it after going to a crisis center. The day I gave up and asked to die was also the day I asked to live, said yes to myself, and decided to make a big, fucking change.

Sophomore year was just a tiny step up from freshman year, like one of those oddly placed half-steps we’ve all stumbled upon. Slurs still happened, but not as bad. I became the president of the Gay Straight Alliance, making it more active than it ever was before. I stuck with my decision to make that big fucking change.

How?

I got educated. The NCCJ (the National Conference for Community and Justice) was my place of choice. I had ties with them because I attended their ANYTOWN summer program, I got involved, and I put what I learned and what I believed to practice.

I introduced the NCCJ’s BRIDGES program to the school and made sure it happened.  (75 of my peers have now gone through the program!) I practiced what I preached. I pointed out hateful comments. I spoke up for myself and others.

I did what made me happy. I gave up trying to be anything else than what I was.

Present Day

So diary, I’ve learned some stuff through my experiences. I’ve learned that it’s perfectly acceptable – and normal – to not be the stereotypical definition of gay. I’ve learned that it’s perfectly acceptable to wear whatever I want to wear. I’ve learned that I’m not truly alone, that just because I don’t see certain people every day or as often as I would like doesn’t mean they aren’t right beside me. I’ve learned that I would rather stand up than to silence myself by committing suicide. I would rather protect myself and others in the future from being targeted than to give up. I learned that people who care, sometimes tell you not do to something because they want to keep you safe.  So I have learned to balance being myself and keeping myself safe – and to listen to their concerns. I’ve learned that people are not going to be accepting and welcoming overnight, it’s a gradual process. I’ve learned to relax and take a step back instead of being constantly overwhelmed. I’ve learned to support my peers who are fighting for their own equality albeit concerning: sex, race, class, religion, etc… because in the end I don’t want anyone to hurt and it’s all one big fight against hate. I’ve learned to be articulate and use my words and voice as needed. I’ve learned I have power, and people will – and do! – listen. I learned that my struggles have made me who I am today; a proud, happy, gay sixteen year old who I would not change a thing about.

I still struggle often with self-esteem issues – I find it hard to love myself after being disrespected in the ways that I have been. I still feel the scars of the words, of being avoided and ignored. I still sometimes feel out-of-place and alone. I still feel weak. However, I remember there’s nothing wrong with just being Caleb Rhys Wilkie, and that I can genuinely say I stuck to my truly life-changing choice to make a big fucking change.

Diary and others, thank you for listening to my story of how I found myself, and to how I said YES!

P.S.  The statistic was found at: http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm?objectid=CA866DCF-1372-4D20-C8EB26EEB30B9982

Message to the Bully – Spoken Word by Jamele Adams, performed at YES! Conference.

3 Nov

This is written and was performed by Jamele Adams at the YES! Conference 2011.  One of four pieces he performed that day, his words shook the minds and hearts of all in attendance.  We will be posting the other three of his rhymes individually within the next week.  Gotta give each their own blog so the power in his words is given the respect they deserve.  Check back soon!

Jamele Spittin' Rhymes

Message to the Bully

With your methods
You will not win
Vesuvian “Savant-Intelligentsians”
Comprehend
No matter how mean
You don’t expect this dream
To come back like love
To combat love; lost
In empty hugs and Shoulder shrugs
Cyber slugs and begrudged thugs
Love
Love
Love
Like hands out, hearts open
Peace pipes can’t reach the same level of smoking
The way our fire breathe have lungs open
Inhale candle 
Exhale Roman
Inhale Prometheus
Exhale Jesus
Inhale bully
Exhale Willie,
Or Jimmy, Lisa, Rosa, Mike, Bartholomew
Anyone that resembles unique you

 

Cool is no comparison to the majesty of the individual

 

Momma said follow no fool
There4
We will not give into slurs
We will not join you in saying that to her
We won’t use our words to beat him
Nor retract from your physical attacks
We won’t clown them in gym
We won’t back page their Facebook
Or sour their glitter on twitter by being bitter

 

Bully-use of superior strength or influence to intimidate
Bully-the act of repeated aggressive behavior to intentionally hurt
Bully-a person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people

 

WE ARE NOT SMALL OR WEAKER PEOPLE
WE ARE MOUNTAINS OF VARIOUS SIZES

 

Check our DNA
We Do Not Allow
Love to not exist-be it ever-present
Like timeless birthday gifts

 

Love-a strong predilection or enthusiasm
Love-actions towards others based on compassion
Love-ineffable feeling of solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship
We are won

 

October shouldn’t be anti-bullying month
It should be the month of self-esteem
And then have a calendar of 12 Octobers (know what I mean)

 

Larry King (murdered by Brandon MacAnary for asking on a date)
Eric Mohat (shot himself after someone said shoot yourself, you won’t be missed)
Jeremiah Lasater (shot himself in the head and had food thrown at him)
Megan Meier (hung herself in her closet after a comp message saying the world would be better without her)
Jaheem Herrera ( hung himself in his closet after being called gay, ugly and the Virgin after getting a report card full of A’s and B’s)
Justin Aaberg (gay bullying)
Phoebe Prince (cyber-bullying)
Lance
Celina
Ty
Ernest
Kimberly
Jon
Asher
Seth
Caleb
Jamarcus
Brandon
Samantha
Ashley
Alex
Billy
Harrison
Justin
Edward
Cassidy
Alexis
Christian
Cody
Felix
Jesse
Scott
Tyler
Raymond
Cory
Brittany
Jeremy
Jordan
Zach
Brendan
34 lost in 2010 due to Bullycide and cyberbullying

 

Forget money
Social security now means protection of your social identity
We are the saviors against these learned behaviors
Post Traumatic Bullying Disorder
Learning to live, with loveless-risks
And to those of us suffering with this

 

We care
We need you
We see you
You are not invisible
You are not forgotten
You are not alone
You can cry
Be angry
Be unsatisfied
Ask why
AND WE WILL REPLY
WITH THUNDEROUS SOUND
LOVE UNIFIED!

 Bullying is intimidation, harm and degradation of a human being, their character or the esteem of their spirit by another.  Breaking of one’s spirit by another’s pariah of insult and pain. The cure; love.

 Jamy publishing (c) October 2011.  harlym125@aol.com. 917-921-1456

YES Kayla creates change.

21 Oct

THIS is Shae’s Story

21 Oct

Thank you Kammie for sharing why YOU say YES!

21 Oct

What’s that Rosie?

7 Oct

What does Rosie say YES! to???? Let’s find out?