From the May 2012 Executive Director Update:
A week ago, 30 queer youth and their adult allies gathered on the steps of Burlington City Hall to break the Day of Silence with a Night of Noise. After Burlington’s new Mayor Weinberger issued acity proclamation
recognizing the important work of Outright VT and the purpose of Day of Silence, youth were asked to break the silence of their days. Again and again, youth bravely took to the bullhorn to share their stories of coming out, experiences in Vermont schools – the good and bad – and what it felt like for them to find a loving and supportive community of peers at Outright Vermont. There was not a dry eye in the crowd.
As the event drew to a close, our MC, local DJ, and founding youth member of Outright Vermont, Craig Mitchell, asked one last time if anyone else wanted to share a story or thoughts. Unfolding a paper of prepared remarks, our Youth Coordinator Adam fiercely said, “I’ve got something to say.” Adam took to the stairs and spoke directly from zes heart, calling for all of us to not be silent, but to yell at the top of our lungs.
“How then shall we honor our befallen brothers, sisters, gender liberated/gender queer siblings, our fellow human beings? How?
My answer is short, but not simple…
We.. must.. live.” (read Adam’s full remarks here).
I feel so honored everyday to work with such an excellent staff who get why we do this work on a core level. This is not just about fighting back against heterosexism or providing a safe space for youth - this is about living our lives, every single day, asloud and as out as we can as queer people and allies.
Twenty five years ago this week, the queer activist group ACT UPwas founded. They changed all of our lives for the better forcing us to see that Silence=Death and that, as queer people, we sometimes must demand to be not just seen, but heard and included. They made the AIDS epidemic a household issue and would go on to save thousands and thousands of lives by forcing the matter of HIV prevention and adequate AIDS care. Perhaps their biggest legacy is to remind all of us that together, when we ACT UP, we are fierce!
What are you doing to live out loud or ACT UP as a queer person or ally for queer youth in Vermont?
Outright Vermont was founded by Vermonters inspired by the actions of ACT UP and the need for queer and allied adult responses to the suicide rate of queer youth. Be part of this legacy by living OUT loud and acting UP in support of our mission.
Every act you take matters as we all work to provide queer youth with safe, healthy, and supportive schools and communities here in Vermont.
Give your time. Give your talents. Give your financial support.
I look forward to engaging you in our mission! Call or email me at the office at 802-865-8677 ext. 0 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Murray, Executive Director