But while I was moved by the numbers that attended and the passion of the speakers, it was the story that a dear friend shared with me from Saskatoon that same day that had the most impact on me personally. This is the story of one woman making a difference for the kids at her school.
She talks of being proud of the kids in her school that day. I am brimming with pride in knowing someone like Gail. Thank you Gail for being there for your kids - letting them know they are not alone!
I walked in that day decked out in purple to support friends who have been bullied and for family members that have passed away and I know for a fact were the victims of gay bashing. I didn't go in that day thinking that I would make a difference. I didn't think the kids were going to notice but I knew the staff would. And the plan was that I would quietly educate them in my own way. I knew there would be eye rolling but I didn't care. It's not the first time they have rolled eyes at me.
I suspected there was a couple of boys in that school of being gay and they were not out and I worried about them. So much so that I have talked to their teacher and he is keeping a closer eye on the language being used in that classroom. He is amazing and has a zero tolerance on any prejudice of any kind. Did I mention his brother was gay?
I have heard the words "faggot" and "gay" in the hallways and I have pulled those kids aside and explained to then it was inappropriate. They have be reprimanded by teachers and principals but still it continues here and there. I know we don't catch all of it. I work in a bit of a rough school broken families is the norm, bullying, behavior problems, mental illness, kids coming to school hungry, kids coming to school with a head full of lice. With kids like that acceptance and social skills is not high on their list of priorities.
I really thought that my purple outfit was going to go unnoticed by the kids. For the most part I assumed they were uninformed but a small part of me hoped that they would notice. I really didn't think it would play out like it did. I really didn't have to say much; all it took was for me (a grown up)to be standing there decked out in purple. They were the ones who took the ball and ran with it. They were the ones opening up, taking pride and educating their peers.
It was the kids who started to speak out and inform others. Up to that point they were being hush-hush about the whole thing keeping it amongst themselves. I guess seeing as I was there in support it was like they felt as though they got the go ahead by an adult to speak up on the subject.
It was so cool to witness that chain reaction and how well it was received by the other kids standing around and listening.
I was so proud of them!