The above pictures are from the Washington Square Park’s, NYU students-organized vigil on Thursday, November 5, 2009, two days after Andrew died.
I am going to Washington Square Park and take part in the Vigil organized by the LGBT.
Like millions of others, I am heartbroken at the tragic loss of lives.
My own son, Andrew, died eleven months ago yesterday and my heart is already full.
And I feel sorrow beyond words for young, sweet Tyler… lonely, afraid, shocked, numb, knowing not who to turn to when he jumped off the George Washington Bridge, other than the cold dark waters of the Hudson River.
Little Asher Brown having the desperation of pointing a gun to his head and shooting…
And all the others…
When all the arguments and counter arguments, the vigils and interviews, the volleys blurted out in anger, when all that and more has stopped, settled down into silence, those darling beloved ones will still be dead, driven to suicide by what we know and much that we don’t know.
Let’s tackle what we know and let us embark on a journey to learn what we don’t know about suicide.
Dear fellow survivor parents – I know and feel your pain. I pray with all my heart that with support and friends from above and from below you will be able to endure and truly survive.
I leave you with the letter sent out to the Rutgers Community by Rutgers University President, it was sent to me by someone who attended the “Get Your Wellness On” Fair on September 18.
Love to everyone,
Esmeralda, Andrew’s Mother
Members of the Rutgers Community:
The Rutgers University community is mourning the death of first-year student Tyler Clementi. We grieve for him and for his family, friends, and classmates as they deal with the tragic loss of a gifted young man who was a strong student and a highly accomplished musician. Our community is preparing to hold a candlelight vigil on Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. at Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus. This silent vigil will be an opportunity to come together in this difficult time to reaffirm our commitment to the values of civility, dignity, compassion, and respect for one another.
This tragedy and the events surrounding it have raised critical questions about the climate of our campuses. Students, parents, and alumni have expressed deep concern that our university, which prides itself on its rich diversity, is not fully welcoming and accepting of all students. They have expressed to me and to other Rutgers faculty and administrators the urgent need for every student to be able to live and study without fear of intimidation, discrimination, or threats to their privacy.
Rutgers has a strong history of social activism on behalf of diversity. It was here in 1969 that the second gay college student organization in the country was founded. In that same era, student protests led to expanded opportunities for students of color at Rutgers. In the 1980s, our students spoke out forcefully and effectively against apartheid. We also have a proud legacy of world-renowned research on women and the preparation of women for leadership.
By its history Rutgers University is thus committed to the moral imperative of an open and egalitarian community. That work continues today. Last year Rutgers opened an LGBT resource center and established our first LGBT scholarship fund for undergraduate students. And while we are working toward the creation of additional safe spaces in response to student concerns, we must make every space at Rutgers safe.
Accordingly, I pledge that we will work even more closely with our student leaders to make certain that our campuses are places where students of all races, faiths, cultures, and orientations feel accepted and respected.
In order to hear directly from our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, I am arranging to meet with student leaders of the LGBT community. When we gather, we will discuss what they identify as the areas in which Rutgers can better support the needs of this community.
Let me also urge your participation in Project Civility (projectcivility.rutgers.edu), a two-year conversation on our New Brunswick campus about the meaning of respect and how we treat each other. The critically important issues of personal privacy and the responsible uses of technology, which have been brought into sharp focus this week, are among the timely topics that Project Civility will examine.
Rutgers is an imperfect institution in an imperfect society, but we are always striving to find better ways to make every student feel comfortable and fully empowered. We have the opportunity and the obligation to be a model for universities across the country. Let us work together to make that happen.
Richard L. McCormick