Anti-bullying message coming to Brockville

Jer’s Vision is heading to Brockville next week. Check out what hte Recorder & Times Newspaper had to say about us coming! (link here)

Anti-bullying Message Coming to Brockville
by Megan Burke

Being bullied in high school for differences is an unfortunate reality for so many youth.

Standing up to it, however, is often rare -especially when it comes to filing a legal case against your school and school board.

Jeremy Dias, a student from Sault Ste. Marie, sued at age 17 for the extreme cases of discrimination he faced after coming out in high school by both students and school officials. By age 21, he won Canada’s second largest human rights settlement.

Rather than keeping his winnings to himself, he used the money to found Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative, the International Day of Pink and the Jeremy Dias Scholarship.

“Jeremy took an experience and stood up against it,” said Lori Taylor, PFLAG Canada Brockville chapter leader. “Instead of fuelling anger he took the money and put it back into the youth.”

And now Dias is coming to Brockville.

The youth diversity leader will be coming to Brockville on Thursday, November 17, at the Brockville Collegiate Institute auditorium at 7 p.m. to speak.

Brought in by PFLAG Canada Brockville, Taylor hopes Dias will convey the message of how communities can work together to become more inclusive for everyone.

“A lot of the time, people feel a problem is so big that they can’t be part of the change. But when people come together for positive change, it starts happening slowly,” she said.

“It’s important for us to be able to help the youth,” said Stephanie Dunbar, co-leader of the PFLAG Canada Brockville chapter, who noted Taylor heard Dias speak before and highly recommended him.

“He’s been through it and knows first hand what teenagers are facing.”

Dunbar is sure Dias will speak about his experiences and how people, such as family and friends, can help those going through these experiences as they learn to cope.

Following the presentation by Dias, Dunbar hopes people will leave with a better understanding about the tragedy or power bullying has over a person that “does cause devastation in some cases.” Even Dunbar hopes to learn from Dias.

“I’m hoping to have a better idea of what I can do to help people. I want to be able to relay effective strategies to others who are facing bullying and discrimination,” she said.

Prior to being open to the public for free, accepting donations to support PFLAG Canada Brockville and Jer’s Vision, at BCI, Dias will also present at TISS in the afternoon to 140 student leaders from both TISS and BCI.

“I’m hoping his message is not so much informative but a call to action to get the youth involved,” said Taylor, who is also a counsellor at TISS.

PFLAG Canada is an organization created to give support to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning) communities. LGBTQ youth regularly face problems of bullying and discrimination.

The group’s inaugural meeting in September exceeded Taylor’s expectations, drawing more than 40 people. They took advantage of the large number to see what they wanted the group to do. One of the welcomed suggestions was the want for guest speakers.

Dunbar cannot stress enough the importance of attending this event.

“A lot of people are upset by the suicides in the community,” she said. “To be able to have something in our community so accessible is an opportunity people should take advantage of.”

For more information visit f a c e b o o k . c om/ P F L A G-Brockville, www.pflagcanada.caand www.jersvision.org.

mburke@recorder.ca