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Nate Berkus: Be a Hero for Bullied Youth, Give a Damn!

Nate Berkus: Be a Hero for Bullied Youth, Give a Damn!

Interior designer and television show host Nate Berkus recently recorded a message for the Give a Damn project, drawing attention to the issue of bullying and imploring that everyone take the time to be hero in a young person’s life, because it really could make a difference.

Transcript:

[Nate Berkus speaks directly to camera:]

When kids are perceived as being different they must deal with a world at school, online and even at home, that can be cruel and hateful. Sometimes the loneliness, rejection and taunting can become so overwhelming they feel like suicide is the only option to end the pain.

It’s time that each of us step up and help a young person who thought they had no place and no one to turn to. It only takes one person to notice when a kid is struggling, one adult to intervene, and be hero in a young person’s life.

We all have to get involved.

We all have to give a damn.

I give a damn.

Do you?

Join us at wegiveadam.org to learn more.

The video, which premiered late last year as part of the “Rebuilding Home After Tragedy” episode of Nate’s The Nate Berkus Show, appeared alongside an interview with Wendy Walsh, the mother of 13-year-old Seth Walsh who committed suicide after being bullied because he was gay. You can watch the emotional interview with Seth Walsh’s mom and brother here.

Since her son’s death, Wendy Walsh has recorded her own ACLU-backed PSA talking about Seth’s final days, his suicide note and the need for LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying legislation in schools, and tougher anti-bullying legislation overall. 

The Give a Damn project website houses resources on a spectrum of LGBT-related issues, including education, bullying, housing, LGBT elder-issues, health care and more.  Below are links so you can connect with the Give a Damn project:

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45 comments

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6:57AM PST on Jan 16, 2011

Bullying is about domination, power, and humans trying to crush one another. It just takes one person to help rebuild what has been torn down. Thanks for the message.

6:17AM PST on Jan 10, 2011

Why are American high schools so much like American prisons? What I mean is the machismo factor and the queer baiting by closet cases. Really high schools are close to being like a rally for Westboro Baptist Church, where all the usual suspects - gays; non-Christians; fat kids; mental defectives; crazy people; etc. - are dehumanized much like in Nazi Germany. The teachers are too chicken to step in and tell the thugs to stop their idiocy, because half or more of Congress is opposed to all teachers. Even if it costs you guys your jobs, teachers, you have to start to make risky moves to educate and protect the vulnerable youth. If you don't, why aren't you doing some other worthless bureaucratic task like working for the IRS?

5:40PM PST on Jan 8, 2011

Thanks for this post. Let's all "give a damn" about how we treat each other!

11:10AM PST on Jan 8, 2011

Eddie, I'm really sorry for what you went through in your childhood and I'm sure it's something you'll remember for the rest of your life. I was never bullied per se, but when I was 15, my family moved from New Jersey to Michigan, and to a more upscale community than the one I had grown up in. Although I had many friends at my previous school, I was had a terrible time at the new one. On the first day, kids made fun of my eastern accent, no one made any attempt to befriend or even be nice to me probably because I was new and didn't have the "right" friends or wear the "right" clothes. It continued like this for the next 2-1/2 years. I wasn't bulled -- I was just totally ignored and friendless. (Fortunately, I still had letters and occasional visits from my old friends in New Jersey.) When I went away to college at 18, things were completely different. I made friends immediately and had a great time, so I knew there was nothing wrong with me -- it was the snobbish jerks at my high school.

That was more than 40 years ago, but I still think about it from time to time. Although it was a hellish time in my life, it definitely reinforced for me how important it is to be kind to people, to be friendly and welcoming to new people in your group, and to stand up for those you see being bullied or treated unfairly. There is never an excuse to behave otherwise.

5:56AM PST on Jan 8, 2011

Well said, Nate. The more people that stand up against youth bullying the better place schools and everywhere else will be.

8:18AM PST on Jan 7, 2011

At last, this problem is out in the open, so steps can be taken to prevent these tragedies.

This abuse must stop, and we adults have to ensure our children know where to turn for help and support.

1:21AM PST on Jan 7, 2011

Check out PLF's sister company, YVI www.youthvoiceinitiative.org

8:37PM PST on Jan 6, 2011

Glenna, I had friends that were gay. I used to pick up some of my lesbian friends at their house so they could go on dates with other girls. I was called queer and fag by kids all the time. Ya it was hard, but it was nothing compared to the beatings I took. Every night I would get on my knees and cry when I would ask god to please let them skip school the next day. Fortunately, they would usually ditch at least once a week, or come in late enough to miss the class I had with them. Those days were like Christmas. This happened for almost the entire school year.
I was 13 and 5'2". One of the boys was 15 and the other was 16. They were white trash from hell, and of course there was no discipline, or medical bills that got paid. I didn't even get stitches for my lip. Not a word was said to my parents or anyone else. There isn't one corridor of that building that I didn't get attacked. I tried to run one time and that is when my scalp got torn. I put my head down and they just punched me for a few minutes on the back of my head and left. That was all they needed for the day.
It was assault for sure. But it was assault almost every day for the entire school year.
I paid to have my tooth fixed when I was 24, and I still have to have it worked on on occasion. I will always have a big ring on my head where my scalp tore, but you can only see it when I shave my head. I still lay awake at night some times, thinking about it. It isn't something that just stops.

8:23PM PST on Jan 6, 2011

Be courageous enough to stand up to these ungracious creatures and let them know you will not let them take advantage of weaker people, especially women, gays and minorities!

6:40PM PST on Jan 6, 2011

Let us not forget Matthew Shepard, RIP.

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