As I write this post, I can't stop crying.
You see, I am the proud mother of a gay teen, and up until we moved here to Ohio, my son was relentlessly bullied. He's been terrorized. He's been hunted down and beaten on the playground. He's been forced by other kids to provide proof that he is, in fact, a boy...He has been called every name in the book from "Fag" to "Homo" to "Bitch", and he's even been told that he should go home and kill himself. He became very depressed, and even started cutting.
Of course once we learned about the severity of this bullying, we were willing to do whatever it took to get our son out of this environment. When the schools in Virginia wouldn't do anything about the torture my son endured on a daily basis, we decided to take drastic measures....
We moved to my home state of Ohio.
I was born and raised in a small, suburban town in NE Ohio. It's the same town I live in now. I wouldn't want to raise my kids anywhere else, because this area is family-friendly, accepting, and has a true sense of community. People CARE about each other here.
My town actually reminds me a lot of another town here in Ohio. This little town shares the same midwestern values and the same sense of community as the city I live in...But unfortunately, Bay Village Ohio has been in the news a lot lately, and for all the wrong reasons.
You see, recently, a 14 year old Autistic boy was lured by a group of his peers, and while he thought he was taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, these horrible kids dumped a bucket full of human waste on him. All because he was "different". He was an "easy target".
Can you imagine...A teenage boy, likely very excited to help contribute to a wonderful cause, and equally excited that his classmates wanted him around...To be waiting to get that ice bucket poured over him...To be happy to be included....and then to be defiled in such a barbaric and disgusting manner.
Can you picture it?
As the mother of a 14 year old boy who was also bullied for being "different", this absolutely breaks my heart. Like my son, this 14 year old Autistic boy was terrorized for something he did not choose. He didn't choose to be on the spectrum, just like my son didn't choose to be gay.
This incident has rocked the State of Ohio to its core. Something so tragic happening so close to home serves as a reminder that we, as parents, as communities, and as human beings, need to make sure that the love in our towns is stronger than the hate. We need to show support to each and every member of our communities, regardless of their race, sexual preference, or condition. We need to teach tolerance and acceptance so things like this don't happen again. No one deserves to be humiliated in this inhumane manner. We all have value. We're all unique. We're all special.
That 14 year old Autistic boy is unique. He is special. He has value.
Thankfully, the folks at Give Forward want to show this 14 year old boy just how loved he is, and how much support he has from all over.
Their #Love>Hate campaign Give Forward campaign is a fundraiser where all monies collected will go directly to the family of the ALS Ice Bucket Prank victim's family.
The goal is $5,000. Can you imagine how far that would go to show this young man how awesome he is?! Maybe a vacation with his family, savings for college, or maybe even a down-payment for his first vehicle. I don't know about you, but I think this boy truly deserves it. After all of the hate he's had to experience, he deserves to know he's important and to feel some joy.
If you can donate anything to show that LOVE is stronger than HATE, please do so. Every little bit counts!
If you can't donate, that's okay, too! Please share this post far and wide, and let's show that Bay Village, OH teen that LOVE will always prevail.
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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