Spirit Day, October 19, Honors Victims of Bullying We Have Lost to Suicide: In California, one young man we remember is Seth Walsh.

Oct 20, 2011

“Wendy Walsh walked outside her house in Tehachapi, Calif., last year to find her son Seth hanging from a plum tree. The attempted suicide, which led to his death days later, occurred after the 13-year-old had urged his mother to pick him up from the park because other kids were bullying him. The harassment wasn't a one time event; children at school had made fun of him for years because he was gay.” (Time, 2011)

Spirit Day, October 20, is only two years old and was set in motion to remember all the Seths we know and read about and to show support for LGBT youth who are being bullied. Last year Brittany McMillan, a Canadian teenager, posted this call, “On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the seven gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months, many of them due to homophobic abuse in their homes or at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality.” Her call was reposted on blogs and Facebook pages, forwarded in emails, spread word of mouth, and people all over the world responded. Many in the United States responded because of the devastating story of Tyler Clementi’s suicide. ISAW students and teachers wore purple to show their support last year and many are doing so today as well.

Yes, one young woman, who is your age, started Spirit Day!

Legislators have responded too. In September, Governor Brown signed Seth’s Law that will tighten anti-bullying policies in California’s schools. New Jersey passed the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights in response to the Tyler Clementi tragedy.

For more information on Tyler Clementi, link to the In Honor of Tyler Clementi Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Honor-of-Tyler-Clementi/153517964681258...).

For more information on Seth Walsh and Seth’s Law, download the PDFs of Time magazine's articles that tell Seth’s story and address the issue of bullying.

• Seth's Law: Can a Bullied Boy Leave California a Legal Legacy?
• Seth Walsh: Requiem for a Small-Town Boy
• How Not to Raise a Bully: The Early Roots of Empathy

Download the Call to Write written by Sara Ramirez as a response to the Tyler Clementi suicide.