Noting that “nine out of 10 LGBT teens have reported being bullied at school within the past year because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has issued a proclamation declaring Sept. 12-16 as “Stand Up Against Bullying Week.”
Stand Up Against Bullying Week coincides with a visit from international rugby star Ben Cohen, who’ll be in town for gay Pride and whose StandUp Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness about anti-LGBT bullying.
“It is an important issue to our youth,” Rawlings’ chief of staff, Paula Blackmon, said Wednesday. “Bullying is a real thing, and it’s important to bring awareness to it and to say it won’t be tolerated, and if it is happening, then others shouldn’t tolerate it. They should do something about it.”
The Stand Up Against Bullying Week proclamation was issued in response to a request from Jeff Hickey, a local gay activist who led the campaign to bring Cohen to Dallas.
A highlight of the week will be the North Texas Stand Up Against Bullying Education Summit, sponsored by Southern Methodist University.
The event will include a panel of experts and community leaders including the Honorable Joel Burns, an openly gay city council member from Fort Worth, Texas, who last year delivered a heart-wrenching, impassioned plea to LGBT youth struggling with their sexual identity or facing adversity among their families, community or bullying by their peers.