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November 04, 2015
Chances are you've heard of Tyler Clementi. Even if you don't recall where you know the name. In 2010, Clementi, a freshman student at Rutgers University, took his own life. Days before Clementi's suicide, his roommate (Dharun Ravi) secretly filmed Clementi and another man during a private romantic encounter. Ravi posted about the webcam incident on Twitter and urged friends and Twitter followers to watch. This was cyber-bullying. And the repercussions cost a young man his life.
Today, the Tyler Clementi Foundation promotes safe, inclusive and respectful social environments in homes, schools, campuses, churches and the digital world for vulnerable youth, LGBT youth and their allies.
On November 3, Tyler's older brother, James Clementi, visited SJC Brooklyn to talk more about the Foundation, and the #Day1 pledge to end cyber-bullying.
"There are a lot of young people that are being bullied, especially online, and have had Tyler's story struck a chord." — James Clementi (center)
James shared a multimedia presentation with hundreds of SJC Brooklyn underclassmen, student leaders, athletes, and sorority and fraternity members. He shared personal memories of his little brother, Tyler's passion for the violin, riding the unicycle and his enthusiasm for life. James led the hundreds in attendance in identifying and defining classic bullying behavior, and the lasting effects of cyber-bullying.
"Your generation is the first that has to deal with cyberbullying," James said. "There's never a time for victims of cyberbullying to escape [bullying behavior]. It's 24/7."
James then introduced the #Day1 pledge, a voluntary agreement available on the Tyler Clementi Foundation site. By taking the pledge, a student, office worker, community member or anyone in between, promises to abstain from bullying behavior, and help those who are being bullied. Being an Upstander, by standing up to bullying whether at school, at home, at work, in a place of worship, or out with friends, family, colleagues or teammates.
"This is a community," James said. "We want #Day1 to be the start of the change. We're happy to bring the #Day1 pledge to SJC."
Though Tyler's life was lost to cyber-bullying, his foundation is making wonderful strides to ensure no one has to suffer the same fate.
SJC Brooklyn was proud to have its incoming freshman class complete the #Day1 pledge at orientation day earlier this summer. If you'd like to learn more about the Tyler Clementi Foundation, or take the #Day1 pledge, visit http://www.tylerclementi.org/ today.