Monday, January 9, 2012

"Whats goin on" - one teen's wrenching cry to end bullying

Watch this.

It's so powerful. It's been viewed nearly 9 million times. And while he's received some support, there has been so much meanness and denial and flat-out bullying continuing in the online responses to Jonah's video.

We have to stop anti-GLBTQ bullying. We have to stop all bullying.

Right now.

And how is Jonah doing?

This is from the video's page on youtube:

To all my friends and supporters,
I made this video 4 months ago just before school was about to start. I was 13. It was a very emotionally dark time in my life. I made the video at 4:00 am in the morning; I hadn't been sleeping at night for a long time, too many things going on in my head. I was dreading going back to school and I had not come out to my family yet. Only my closest friends knew. I didn't know how to say what I needed to say. All I could think about were all the bad things that had been happening at school last year, every year for that matter. I just couldn't bare to go through that anymore. I was done being fake happy, pretending hateful words didn't hurt, done hiding it from my family.
So this video was made for my friends that had moved on to High School who were worried for me, to say to them that I was going to take a stand, and to the haters at my middle school that I'm not going anywhere. I am who I am. I posted the video here and told people were to find it. That was it.
My friends were moved by the video and thought I did something important. I was encouraged to link it to my Facebook page so more people could see it. Maybe it could help someone else going through the same thing. So I linked it Dec. 1st. My Parents saw it for the first time Dec, 2nd.
Then..... all this happened.

I never expected in a million years that it would have such a wonderful impact on so many people. I am truly humbled and truly thankful for all the love, encouragement and support from people all over the world. It's been incredibly overwhelming. I don't know what to say. Thank you so, so much!
Lastly, yes you have seen me happy in a couple short videos replies I posted; I would think that would be a good thing, and yes I do have friends, my High School friends. And I have made friends because when I came out they realized that they had hurt me and that they felt sorry.

The video is real, and true. In the last few months everything eventually came out in the open, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders; I'm happy, I'm excepted for who I am, I'm more confident and feel stronger every day.
Thank you all, Love and peace to all who are hurting.
Jonah Mowry

Let's make our world a better place, for Jonah, for all teenagers - Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Straight - for all of us.



Anonymous said...

This breaks my heart; there's so much pain in his face. I'm glad that Jonah ends the video acknowledging that he has a million reasons to be here and he is strong. But the link to his video from four months later is down (maybe just for me?), which makes me worried.

Tee said...

compassion for all would change the entire negative paradigm that destroys gays/lesbians/bi/t...each one of us needs to model compassion.

hopefully, there will reach such a force of persistent kindness that suffering will be driven out of human conditioning.


Anne Duguid Knol said...

Strong video. I used to work with 16-19 age group, so many of whom were damaged by bullying and know adults still insecure after being bullied decades ago in primary school. So sad the damage this does and the hurt it causes.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

thanks for letting me know - that video was taken down by Jonah, but I've added the note he wrote on the youtube video page telling us all that "In the last few months everything eventually came out in the open, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders; I'm happy, I'm excepted for who I am, I'm more confident and feel stronger every day."
So happy for him, but recognize that there is still SO much work for us to do to make this world a better place!

Anonymous said...

Phew! Thanks so much for the update Lee. I hope Jonah continues to do well and that his video will inspire other teens feeling the same pain.

Loni Edwards said...

When I first saw this video, a while back, it made me cry. The anguish, frustration are so clear. I also saw the follow up video and it made me glad that his life is getting better. He is so brave!

Thanks to the internet, so many kids are able to reach out and gain support where 20 years ago, they had none. Thanks to support communities like the Trevor Project, and blogs like yours,the word is getting out. Nobody should have to go through so much pain.

It's an uphill battle, but I know in the end that love will prevail. (I think that is near close to some Beatles lyrics!)

Thanks for a thought provoking post Lee! Namaste :)

Michelle Cusolito said...

That any child should ever feel this way is gut wrenching. Bullying is so hard to stop. I always addressed it head on when I knew about it in my classroom, but even that can backfire sometimes.

Thank you for your work on behalf of all kids.

Christy Rush-Levine said...

Thank you for this.

Linda B said...

Thank you for sharing this, which I will send to colleagues at my school. We have a good inclusive school and are known for supporting everyone's individuality in the population (students and teachers and parents) but still combat the teasing, those who believe they must be the 'in' crowds, etc., especially the later elementary and the middle schoolers. Hard work, but important. I'm glad you also shared Jonah's letter & hope things continue to be better for him.

Joanna said...

Thanks for sharing Jonah's letter after the controversy of the second video, Lee. For me the first video was indeed genuine anguish. I am thrilled he is doing better and so glad it went viral and it will continue to inspire many to greater tolerance and compassion, to all, not just the LGBTQ, community.

Kristin McIlhagga said...

Lee -
Thank you so much for sharing this and passing it along. Jonah - thank you for being you.

I work with pre-service teachers - people who want to work with elementary students some day. Each semester I bring in picture books (and chapter books) with a wide variety of representations, including LGBTQ people, animals, families, etc. (Uncle Bobby's Wedding, Todd Parr's The Family Book)

Often, students are worried about sharing these in their classrooms. They are worried and scared of offending parents. My response to them is, "What if you have a child or parent who comes to you and thanks you. Who says this is the first time I have seen myself in a book."

I will be sharing this video with my students. They need to hear and see this amazing young man who has been bullied since the FIRST grade. I want my students to know that when they are teachers, they have a responsibility to create a culture of understanding and acceptance not by ignoring something out of fear but by sharing, acknowledging, honoring and including.

Avi de Turenne said...

As more and more of these heart-wrenching stories come to light, realizing that there are millions out there watching them and recognizing their own stories, I see another step in helping make it better.

GatheringBooks said...

Hi Lee, this video clip tugs at my heart in so many levels. Many thanks for sharing and continuing the advocacy to end all forms of bullying. Most of my closest friends and loved ones are gays/lesbians - and I understand the struggles of young teens in facing and overcoming hate coming at all sides - the ignorance and the bigotry. :( I shall definitely share your site with my colleagues/friends.