CHARLESTON, S.C. -- School should be a safe space of learning for all students. However, 52% of students reported being bullied in person or virtually this past year, according to a 2021 national survey by The Trevor Project. Additionally, 84% of adults agree there are not enough protections on social media to prevent discrimination, harassment, or disinformation. We Are Family, the lowcountry's LGBTQI+ youth organization, is continuing to create spaces centering youth wellness, which is why We Are Family is excited to bring back in person events for this year’s Spirit Week.
Every year since 2010, We Are Family has hosted a “Spirit Day'' event to support LGBTQ+ youth and to take an active stand against bullying. Spirit Day is an annual LGBTQ+ awareness day observed on the third Thursday in October. Spirit Day is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ+ bullying and standing with LGBTQ+ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Promoted by their friends at GLAAD, folks pledging to "Go Purple" on Spirit Day is a way for everyone —forward-thinking companies, global leaders, respected celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world and to honor LGBTQ+ victims of suicide.
“Seeing people in purple on Spirit Day around the world is a way for me to know who is an ally, especially in my school.” One lowcountry student says.
This year for Spirit Week, We Are Family is highlighting visual and performing arts artists who use their talents as a way to celebrate their identity, unique perspective, and artistic freedom. The week's events will include events ranging from panel discussions, talent shows, family game nights, and so much more. The main event, which will be held on Spirit Day (Thursday, October 20th at the College of Charleston, School of Education Alumni Center 86 Wentworth Street Charleston, SC 29401) will feature their 2022 keynote speaker, actress, activist, and drag legend Miss Coco Peru.To close out the week, We Are Family will be hosting a community favorite event, The Rainbow Market at Closet Case Thrift Store which will feature 20 unique vendors, youth run businesses, and a free clothes swap.
“When students were in e-learning due to COVID, we saw a jump in cyberbullying. Now as students make their way back into the classrooms they are facing their bullies in person. It’s disheartening when students say negative things to their other peers when they should be celebrating them for being their authentic selves.” says Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez, Closet Case and Community Events Director of We Are Family. “We hope after attending our Spirit Week events, folks will be empowered to make a change, take a stand, and stop bullying in its tracks because there is no room for bullying in our world! ”
We Are Family’s Spirit Week events are free to attend, are open to the public, and are family friendly! For more information, visit www.waf.org/spiritweek.
Miss Coco Peru has been a household name in the LGBT community for over 30 years. She's toured around the world, has over nine million views on YouTube, and has been in multiple cherished films, garnering multiple awards and nominations for her work. A veteran of numerous feature films (trick, To Wong Foo..., and the cult classic Girls Will Be Girls, and more), and television shows (How I Met Your Mother, Arrested Development, Will & Grace, among numerous others), Coco has also become a viral sensation on social media platforms, including Instagram and YouTube. Coco has received worldwide acclaim for her award-winning solo shows that she's starred in, written, produced, and directed, as well as her remarkable series of tributes to great performers, Conversations with Coco, in which she conducted live career-retrospective interviews with such luminaries as Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Liza Minnelli, and the late Bea Arthur. Coco's long history of passionate activism, unflagging support of the LGBT community, and fierce dedication to AIDS-related charities earned her the Los Angeles LGBT Center's Board of Directors Award, presented to her by Zachary Quinto. For more information about Coco, visit https://www.misscocoperu.com/. For media inquiries with Coco, please email Michael Warwickl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We Are Family is a Southern Grassroots non-profit organization that provides affirming spaces for LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, etc.) and ally youth up to the age of 24 through direct support, leadership development, and community engagement. For more information, visit www.WAF.org.
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