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09/10/2009

Gay rights: Chalk it up to fairness

by Jeremy Hooper

200909101134-1Anti-gay noise: Like nails on the world's chalkboard.

Peaceful acceptance of LGBT people as part of the spectrum of normalcy: It's a slate on which the roadmap is still largely unwritten. On 10/5, you can grab some chalk and help us show the world how to get there from here:

Schools and communities across the nation are already participating!

Be a part of it!

Help us get the word out!

What: 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project
When: Monday October 5th, 2009
Where: College campuses and high schools everywhere


Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) community are far too often the subject of hateful rhetoric. From slurs to jokes to anti-gay sermons spewed around the country - society often tries to tell us that GLBTQ individuals are evil or strange.

Despite the incredible strides being made with equality - GLBTQ individuals are still often made to feel isolated and alone. Anywhere from 25-50% of GLBTQ youth are initially rejected by their families. An estimated 60% of GLBTQ youth feel unsafe in American schools due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. GLBTQ youth are still four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

It’s time to combat the influence of hateful rhetoric that seeks to isolate members of the GLBTQ community. It’s time to remind our community members that they are never alone.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, students at Drew University began penning inspirational messages in sidewalk chalk that read, “You are loved,” “You are wonderful,” and “You are beautiful.”

These chalk messages quickly became a familiar quirk around Drew’s campus - popping up every Coming Out Week and Day of Silence to remind members of the GLBTQ community that they are loved - and that their love is appreciated.

In April of 2009, a member of Montclair State University’s Spectrums approached one of the original authors of the chalk messages. She asked her if the initiative could be made statewide.

Why stop at statewide?

This year, we are asking colleges and high schools everywhere to participate in the chalk message project.

All that is required is a simple piece of sidewalk chalk - and a couple of your own inspirational, positive quotes. Write these quotes all over the grounds of your campus - for everyone to see.

We also highly encourage schools participating to write an opinions piece to your school newspaper explaining the meaning behind the project.

Let’s educate society on the need for loving dialogue rather than divisive hate speech.

RSVP on our facebook event:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=168779860464&ref=mf

Visit our blog: http://dreamsuntitled.tumblr.com/

Please email chalkmessages@gmail.com to participate or for more information.

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