Nonprofit fights bullying with art and drag icon
By Jonatan Guerrero-Ramirez
School should be a safe space of learning for all students. However, 52% of students reported being bullied in person or virtually this past year, according to a 2021 national survey by The Trevor Project. Additionally, 84% of adults agree there are not enough protections on social media to prevent discrimination, harassment, or disinformation. We Are Family, the Lowcountry's LGBTQI+ youth organization, is continuing to create spaces centering youth wellness, which is why We Are Family is excited to bring back in person events for this year’s Spirit Week.
Every year since 2010, We Are Family has hosted a “Spirit Day'' event to support LGBTQI+ youth and to take an active stand against bullying. Spirit Day is an annual LGBTQI+ awareness day observed on the third Thursday in October. Spirit Day is a means of speaking out against LGBTQI+ bullying and standing with LGBTQI+ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities.
Promoted by their friends atGLAAD,folks pledging to "Go Purple" on Spirit Day is a way for everyone — forward-thinking companies, global leaders, respected celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQI+ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world and to honor LGBTQI+ victims of suicide.
Every year since 2010, We Are Family has hosted a “Spirit Day'' event to support LGBTQ+ youth and to take an active stand against bullying.
“Seeing people in purple on Spirit Day around the world is a way for me to know who an ally is, especially in my school.” One Lowcountry student says. This year for Spirit Week, We Are Family is highlighting visual and performing arts artists who use their talents as a way to celebrate their identity, unique perspective, and artistic freedom. The week's events will include events ranging from:
- panel discussions
- talent shows
- family game nights
- and so much more
The main event, which will be held on Spirit Day Thursday, October 20 at the College of Charleston School of Education Alumni Center, will feature their 2022 keynote speaker, actress, activist and drag legend Miss Coco Peru. To close out the week, We Are Family will be hosting a community favorite event, The Rainbow Market at Closet Case Thrift Store which will feature 20 unique vendors, youth run businesses and a free clothes swap.
Events are free to attend, are open to the public and family friendly!
“When students were in e-learning due to COVID, we saw a jump in cyberbullying. Now as students make their way back into the classrooms, they are facing their bullies in person. It’s disheartening when students say negative things to their other peers when they should be celebrating them for being their authentic selves.” says Jonatan Guerrero-Ramirez, Closet Case and Community Events Director of We Are Family. “We hope after attending our Spirit Week events, folks will be empowered to make a change, take a stand, and stop bullying in its tracks because there is no room for bullying in our world!”
Events are free to attend, are open to the public and family friendly! For more information, visitwaf.org/spiritweek.We Are Family is a Southern Grassroots non-profit organization that provides affirming spaces for LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, etc.) and ally youth up to the age of 24 through direct support, leadership development, and community engagement. For more information, visitWAF.org.