A Message About the Orlando Tragedy
“My heart simply breaks for the victims and their families. When will people open their eyes and see the horrific impact of their misguided teachings of bias, discrimination and hate that devalues the human spirit, whether it is in the dramatic physical actions of taking another life or in the slow and steady emotional toil of ongoing bullying. Love will win and these outrageous acts of evil will stop.”
—Jane Clementi, Founder and Board Member of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, June 13, 2016
New Article in Wall Street Journal Unveils Latest Cyber-Bullying Info
The Wall Street Journal, in a fantastic new piece from Leslie Gore, unveiled the latest cyberbullying research, which comes out of a poll of 1,000 NYC-area teens and parents (unrelated to each other). The results of the study demonstrate the considerable need for anti-bullying work in the forms of not only awareness, but hands-on preventative measures such as the #Day1 Campaign. We now that about half off all youth identify as victims of cyber-bullying, showing that the problem is more rampant than many have thought.
This data shows that online bullying and harassment is a tremendous problem in our youth culture. Nearly half of all teens say they have been bullied online. 43% of teens say they would be “terrified” if their parents read their texts. 8 in 10 know someone who has bee the victim of cyberbullying. The latest polling results show the need for the preventative work of the Tyler Clementi Foundation and our programs such as #Day1 and the Tyler Clementi Institute for Cyber Safety at New York Law School. Check it out here.
See more Bullying Statistics.
TCF Helps Teens Fight Cyberbullying Through Film
Since we began our partnership with AT&T a few months ago, we have been able to expand our reach and work to end bullying. We collaborated on an extensive poll of New York-area teens and parents to uncover attitudes and behaviors related to cyberbullying. The results were substantial. Nearly half of all teens say they have been bullied online. 8 in 10 know someone who has been the victim of cyberbullying.Read the full results of our poll here!
This weekend we join AT&T and the All American High School Film Festival in kicking off an exciting opportunity for 100 New York-area student filmmakers, as they compete at the national Teen Film Festival. The teens will create films focused on the personal effects of cyberbullying. We are honored to be a partner for this incredible event. The films produced and the relationships built this weekend will create more compassion and respect at high schools across the New York area.
Andrew Jenks, Filmmaker and founder of All American High School Film Festival
Tom Oliva and Brian Lindenbaum, Co-Founders of AAHSFF
Jon Adler, Director of Development, CNN Original Series
Caroline Moore, Vice President, Pretty Matches productions/HBO
Neil Giacobbi, Associate VP, AT&T
Chris Mirigliani, Producer, Beats 1
Other industry professionals
Nearly 100 teen filmmakers from New York and New Jersey
IFP Media Center
30 John Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Saturday, May 14, 2016
9:00AM to 4:00PM (Filmmakers and Teens Available Throughout the Day)
Participating schools include:
- High School for Health Professionals and Human Services
- NEST + m High School
- Chelsea Career & Technical Education High School
- Crotona International High School
- Bushwick Leaders High School
- Urban Assembly of Music and Art
- Robert Louis Stevenson School
- The Beacon School
- Grace Church School
- Perth Amboy High School
- Cedar Crest High School
- Rye Country Day School
H.R. 1421; S. 773
The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act requires colleges and universities receiving federal student aid funding to enact an anti-harassment policy. Specifically, the legislation requires policies that prohibit harassment of enrolled students by other students, faculty and staff based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion and requires colleges to distribute their anti-harassment policy to all students and employees, including prospective students and employees upon request. It also explicitly prohibits behavior often referred to as cyberbullying.
The bill creates a competitive grant program at the Department of Education in which institutions can apply for funding to initiate, expand or improve programs that prevent the harassment of students; provide counseling to victims or perpetrators; or educate or train students, faculty and staff about ways to prevent or address harassment.
Did You Know That Tyler Clementi was African American?
The two men on motor cycles were on either side of our Toyota revving their engines. My mother drove further up, then the men drove further up. My mother drove up again. The men followed and revved their engines again. “Nigger bitches” the one on my side said in a low tone. They sped off. Why on earth did they do that? My mom and I were just on our way to Costco to pick up our year’s worth of toilet paper like everybody else. It was broad daylight 1998 in New York, not 1928 in Alabama. Why us? Why me?
I never met Tyler Clementi, but as a black woman, I can relate to his experience. I am sure that Tyler also asked himself “why me?”. “Why am I the subject of homophobic vitriol. Why are people laughing at me because of who and how I choose to love? Why am I being bullied?”
Black History Month has ended, but please remember that we are all African-Americans being spat on at lunch counters in 1960, regardless of our skin tones. We are all homosexuals being attacked with baseball bats in Central Park in 1978, regardless of our sexual orientations. We are all German jews in 1940 being walked to gas chambers, regardless of our religions. We are all Marcelo Lucero being beaten to death in Suffolk County in 2008 for being Latino, regardless of our nationalities. We are all Japanese Americans being relocated to internment camps in 1942, regardless of our ancestral origin. We are all wheel chair bound and struggling to get from place to place in 1985, regardless of our ability to walk. We are all women and girls being raped every 107 seconds, regardless of our genitalia.
Why are we all of those people? We are effectually the same because we all know how it feels to be bullied. All bullying, whether attributed to race, sexual orientation, religion, gender, nationality, or physical ability, has the same root, insecurity manifesting as evil personified. All bullying has the same modus operandi, the creation of dehumanizing smear campaigns about the target group. All bullying has the same fuel, silent accomplices who do nothing because they think that someone else is being attacked.
Moreover, bullying spreads like a cancer moving to and from communities of color to gay communities to immigrant communities, and so forth and so on, if left untreated. This is why Martin Luther King told us that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.
But thankfully, all bullying also has the same solution, creating a culture of radical self-love, universal acceptance, and appreciation of difference. We can create that culture!
The Journey Behind our New Logo
On behalf of our board and staff, I am delighted to unveil the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s brand new logo! In response to our organization’s dramatic growth, which is in large part due to the support of our generous and loyal donors, we embarked on a journey to revise our logo. The final design, pictured above, incorporates Tyler at the center, just as he is at the heart of our story. In the past five years since Tyler’s passing, change has been the only constant in my life. I have embraced not only my own personal evolution, but also that of the organization that my husband Joseph and I founded in our son’s name. Our logo has been a growing process since our founding in 2010. Those of you who have supported our organization from the beginning may remember the Roman Handshake, our “Live = Let Live” tagline, and our teal and gold stripes. Throughout all of these, I always felt that something was lost in the translation. For me, our new logo is a strong statement of who we are, why we are, and what we do. The new logo communicates everything I have been trying to say in one iconic, youthful and universal symbol. The logo includes Tyler’s initials, held together in the form of the universal “Power On” button – a nod to our work to end online (as well as offline) bullying. We have retained the color gold to reflect the golden rule, which continues to guide our organization’s values.
There are many layers involved in the problems caused by bullying. Bullying involves a power imbalance between the target and the bully, the shame and stigma that prevents victims from reporting and seeking help, the silence of bystanders, and the brave actions of Upstanders. Both cyberbullying and in-person harassment continue to be major issues that we are working on changing. People are targeted for bullying due to their race, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion or other difference; and no matter the reason we want to help!
Click the video above to listen to a recording of our online webinar where we explain more of the thought process behind the new design.
We also invite you to share your thoughts or to make a gift in celebration!
My son Tyler is the reason I, along with my husband Joseph and son James, have dedicated the last five years of our lives to sharing our personal tragedy with the world. The loss that we experienced in September 2010 devastated us and permanently transformed our family, our lives and our purposes. We could not go back in time and change the choice Tyler made, even though it was the only thing I wanted; the only thing that would be able to make me whole again. I have spent years learning to live with the loss and pain, and it continues to be a learning process. The one thing I know is that no family should have to endure a tragedy like ours.
As alone as Tyler must have felt in his final days, his experiences were one of many. Many people opened up to me about their experiences being bullied, and I began to see just how widespread and rampant a problem bullying is in our culture. When we began the Tyler Clementi Foundation our goal was to help as many people from as many diverse situations and backgrounds as possible. Inclusion and reaching through our differences to connect and support each other has been a fundamental goal of mine. I found that Tyler’s story had a universal quality that many people could relate to in some way. There was something about Tyler’s story that spoke to so many people I met. For this reason, we have decided to keep Tyler at the center of our mission, our programming and our identity as an organization.
One afternoon a few weeks ago, I was sitting down for a cup of coffee with a friend whose opinion I cherish, and I shared the new logo with her and awaited her thoughts. She immediately commented that the “C” in the initials looked to her like arms outstretched, embracing Tyler with a loving hug. I have since heard this interpretation from a number of sources. It was so interesting to me because this wasn’t our intention, and it never came up during the design process. I think this is another layer of meaning to our logo that makes it even richer and more heartfelt. I am excited to share this logo with the world, and look forward to seeing how it impacts even more people.
4th Annual Upstander Legacy Celebration Highlights
This year’s Upstander Legacy Celebration was our biggest and best ever.
Enjoy a recap of this beautiful evening! Maybe you will even see some folks you know in this video.
Please consider sharing this video on social media and consider making a donation to this great cause at tylerclementi.org/donate!
Our Partnership with “Share My Lesson”
Let’s Make “Dignity For All Students” More Than Just an Act
In 2010, New York state signed into law the Dignity for All Students Act. In an effort to help reduce bullying, the law relies on school officials to keep track and report all bullying incidents, including those that happen online. Unfortunately, a recent analysis of the reports gathered from New York schools shows that this is not capturing the full scope of the problem.
According to a Times Union analysis of the data, 75 percent of New York State schools reported that there were zero cyberbullying incidents. Senator Carl Marcellino, the chairman of the State Education Committee, stated that “to believe so few districts have experienced these types of incidents would be foolish.”
While it is fortunate that New York state officials are trying to make changes to the Act to make it more effective, I believe it highlights why state and national laws are not enough to address the issues of bullying, harassment and humiliation. According to a recent national survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), over a quarter of schools in states with anti-bullying laws have no bullying policy in place. In schools where there are bullying policies, 38.7% do not specify protections for students based on real or perceived sexual orientation. This leaves a huge amount of students left feeling like they do not have the support of their schools if they are the victims of bullying.
For these reasons, I believe the issue needs to be addressed on multiple fronts, not just the legislative level. Students, parents, and educators need to work together to make sure that everyone knows what type of behavior is unacceptable and that their communities can support them. That is why the programs created by the Tyler Clementi Foundation aim to fill a gap in the sector by providing a range of interventions and approaches.
Programs like the Upstander Speaker Series and #Day1 Campaign make conversations around bullying much more local and personal. Having a speaker like Jane Clementi come into a community to share her story, or using the #Day1 program on the first day of school helps confront the issues in the environments where they actually occur. To make sure these programs are as effective as possible, TCF also created the Tyler Clementi Institute for Internet Safety at New York Law School to conduct research, and provide analysis of bullying prevention. TCF does realize the importance of bullying policy which is why the Foundation supports passage of the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, to encourage college campuses to have stronger anti-bullying policies.
While each of these programs have their strengths, it is when they are used in tandem that real progress can be made.
The First Tyler Clementi Internet Safety Conference
The Internet Safety Conference, to be held at New York Law School on October 3-4, 2015, is an unprecedented gathering of policy makers, political and business leaders, attorneys, social scientists, academics, teachers, students, and nonprofit advocates, all focused on the conference’s theme: combatting cyber-harassment in all its forms. At this conference, New York Law School will launch a first-of-its-kind direct outreach pro bono initiative that will help victims of online harassment obtain justice, the The Tyler Clementi Institute for CyberInternet Safety at New York Law School.
- U.S. Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY)
- U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI)
- Kathleen McGee, Chief, Internet Bureau, Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York
- Elisa D’Amico, Founder, Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project at K&L Gates
- Jane Clementi, Founder, Tyler Clementi Foundation
- Danielle Keats Citron, University of Maryland School of Law, Author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace
- Ann Bartow, University of New Hampshire School of Law
- Frank Pasquale, University of Maryland School of Law, Author of The Black Box Society
- Lawrence Newman, Chief, Domestic Violence Unit, Manhattan DA’s Office
- Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer, Microsoft
- Marissa Shorenstein, President, AT&T New York
- Carrie Goldberg, C.A. Goldberg, PLLC
- Holly Jacobs, Founder, Cyber Civil Rights Initiative
- Lois Herrera, Chief Executive Officer, Office of Safety and Youth Development, New York City Department of Education
- Mark Hatzenbuehler, Assistant Professor, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
- Remington Gregg, Legislative Counsel, Human Rights Campaign
- Nancy Gifford, Senior Director, Law & Policy, iKeepSafe.org