The news of Tyler Clementi's death brought attention to the high suicide rate among lgbt teens. Churches and clergy have been working to find additional tools to respond to the deadly issue since it was brought to the forefront of the nation's attention.
There was a rally at Michigan State University:
About 250 people showed up and listened as speakers shared their experiences with bullying and encouraged each other to stand up for others.
“We need to do things to make sure what happened [at Rutgers] doesn’t happen here, or anywhere else, again,” June told the crowd.
Sarah Midzackowski, chaplain for Canterbury MSU, an Episcopal church group on the campus, also spoke.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry that so many of you have experienced spiritual harm at the hands of religious leaders,” she said. “More than anything else, I want you to know you are loved.”
400 people met at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Ridgewood NJ where:
concerned residents, activists and public officials, gathered Thursday night at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Ridgewood for a meeting calling for the passage of anti-bullying and anti-discrimination legislation in the aftermath of the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi.
“This is not the end of Tyler’s story,” state Sen. Loretta Weinberg told the crowd, many of whom were members of Garden State Equality, which sponsored the event. “This is really the beginning of Tyler’s story. We need to change the law.”
(More coverage of this meeting here.)
And Episcopal News Service has contacted Episcopal Campus chaplains around the country to ask them how they are responding and how the communities they pastor are managing. ENS has written up what its heard here.
Bishop Mark Sisk has written a letter to the people of the Diocese of New York that reads in part:
The Episcopal Church has long affirmed the dignity, equality and inclusion of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. That these latest deaths should occur so near to the anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder in Wyoming 12 years ago (Oct. 12, 1998) reminds us that there is much work yet to do to instill these values in the communities we serve.
Last month, New York Gov. David Paterson signed the Dignity for All Students Act, which bans harassment and discrimination against students based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, religion, disability and other characteristics, and requires the state’s school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies.
I urge all institutions to be responsive to calls for help and relief by any and all who are threatened and treated with contempt.
The bishops of Newark and New Jersey have issued a joint statement on the situation and it's posted here.