Thursday, October 17, 2013 is “SPIRIT Day.” The observance began in response to a rash of widely publicized bullying-related suicides of gay school students in 2010.
Since 2010, each year on “Spirit Day” people have been encouraged to wear the color purple, and post purple themed/bannered messages on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to show support for LGBTQ youth who are victims of bullying.
After posting photos/graphics from GLAAD and the Transgender Law Center on my Facebook page, I donned my three shades of purple outfit and headed to work.
I work with a diverse group of people. They are good people but we are different. They tend to be more conservative to my liberal. They are more Christian to my spiritual. They are more suburban to my urban. I know for a fact that I’m the only one with tattoos, piercings other than on the ears, sporting Afrocentric natural hair and openly gay. So I was not surprised that no one else wore purple or knew why I did today.
We live in different worlds, come from different backgrounds but every day I recognize I have an opportunity, a responsibility maybe not to change but to touch hearts and minds.
It’s all part of living an authentic life, of being out and finding those areas of intersectionality that help us move the boundaries of inclusion towards equality.
So I wore my three shades of purple ensemble, and when the opportunity arose I told them why I was wearing purple and talked about the damage bullying does to young lives, especially young LGBTQ lives.
We talked as women. We talked as mothers. We talked as concerned community members. And in the end, we discovered we aren’t so different after all.
There’s a classical Latin phrase carpe diem—usually translated as “seize the day” or “act now.” Occasions, like “SPIRIT Day,” gives each of us the opportunity to act, to touch hearts, minds and be the agents of the change we want to be.