Outright Vermont, LGBTQA Center at UVM, UVM’s Free2B, and other UVM groups are co-hosting a candlelight vigil on Monday, October 4th at 8pm to honor the lives and mourn the loss of 5 youth that have committed suicide in the past three weeks. Asher Brown, age 13, from Texas; Billy Lucas, age 15, from Indiana; Seth Walsh, age 13, from California; and Tyler Clementi, age 18, from New Jersey all experienced bullying and harassment because they were either gay or perceived to be gay. Raymond Chase, age 19, an openly gay college student from New York, also committed suicide in the past three weeks. We will also honor the lives of other youth lost to suicide that didn’t make the national news.
Rachel Koh, a UVM student, states “at this time I would invite us all to be together to show support for our communities: the UVM community, the Burlington community, the LGBTQA community, the nation, whatever communities you identify with, because suicide affects all of us. Let’s join together in remembrance and solidarity.”
Jan Donley, author of the recently published young adult novel, The Side Door, will participate in a discussion with youth before the vigil. The Side Door is about a 15-year-old high school student who comes out as a lesbian and forces her community to deal with issues of sexual orientation, gender expression, and youth suicide.
This event will mark the start of Suicide Prevention Week. Join us at UVM’s Allen House, 461 Main Street in Burlington, on Monday, October 4, at 6pm for the discussion with Jan Donley and at 7:30pm for the candlelight vigil. We will walk from Allen House to the Green, where the vigil will start at 8pm. Youth needing transportation should contact Outright Vermont at (802) 865-9677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.