UPDATE: Why We Fight

Last week we told you about the death of  Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover.  Carl killed himself because bullies constantly called him gay.  Today comes another sad reminder of why we fight.  Jaheem Herrera, also an 11 year old boy, committed suicide by hanging himself Thursday after, according to his family, relentless bullying at Dunaire Elementary School.

suicide.0421

According to newspaper reports:

“Jaheem’s body was discovered by his 10-year-old sister, Yerralis, also a fifth-grader.

“His sister was screaming, ‘Get him down, get him down,’ ” Keene said.

When Keene got to the room, he saw Yerralis holding her brother, trying to remove the pressure of the noose her brother had fashioned with a fabric belt.

Jaheem was bullied relentlessly, his family said. Keene said the family knew the boy was a target, but until his death they didn’t understand the scope.

“We’d ask him, ‘Jaheem, what’s wrong with you?’ ” Keene recalled. “He’d never tell us.”

He didn’t want his sister to tell, either. She witnessed much of the bullying, and many times rose to her brother’s defense, Keene said.

They called him gay and a snitch,” his stepfather said. “All the time they’d call him this.”

We do not fight merely for political gain or to make a quixotic philosophical point.  We fight because this is more than a matter of equality under the law, it is literally a matter of life and death for kids  like Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera.

If there could possibly be a positive outcome of these deaths, The Power has recieved a report from one public school in Delaware that will be using the news of these senseless deaths to open a dialog between teachers and students on the topic of bullying.

In the mean time, you can take action. If you live in New York, call your state senator (click here to find out who they are) to tell them the importance of supporting the Dignity for All Students Act.  It has passed the Assembly every year for the last seven years.  Let’s make sure it becomes law.  For children like Carl and Jaheem.

Sign the petition to amend the Civil Rights Act to include LGBT people.

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