Watch Megan Mullally video about how to begin #Day1
The Tyler Clementi Foundation in the media View all >
  • Tyler Clementi Foundation on ABC Good Morning America
  • Tyler Clementi Foundation on The New York Times
  • Tyler Clementi Foundation on People Magazine
  • Tyler Clementi Foundation on USA Today
  • Tyler Clementi Foundation on CBS News Sunday Morning
  • Daily Mail Logo
  • RIZZARR Logo
  • PIX 11 Logo
  • Think Progress
  • Human Rights Campaign

Welcome to the Tyler Clementi Foundation

  • Featured Post

    Mean Kids Suck

    Billy receiving yellow belt in Karate

    In 5th grade, Billy would come home after school and sit in his big comfy chair covered under a blanket, not wanting to talk to anyone. His grades fell. And my bouncy, free loving goofy child was replaced with a blob who was going through the motions of the day. Of course he refused to tell us what was going on. Luckily his best friend’s mom filled me in. Billy was being bullied.

    It continued into 6th grade. Kids would make him uncomfortable, and he would try to hide it from me. Only once did it turn physical. Luckily another kid got help before anything happened, but someone started a rumor that Billy won.

    Billy was always “confident” in who he is. He doesn’t care if his clothes match or his hair is sticking straight up. He loves to crack really bad (I mean great) jokes and his imagination would give JK Rawlings some competition. But something changed in him when the other kids began ganging up on him.

    I’d always thought about Karate, or some type of martial arts. But between piano, Hebrew School, and theatre, the thought of adding something else into the mix didn’t seem like a good idea. Billy loves his computer time and I didn’t want to take that away. But something needed to happen. The night it got physical I drove him down to the ATA studio. He was not happy. “Let’s just go see what it is,” I said. We watched the class and Billy was ready to leave.

    To Billy’s tears of frustration and reluctance, I signed him up. “Just four lessons,” I said. Turns out, you sign them up for 6 weeks, 2 times a week. I told him if he hated it after, he could quit.

    The first class, he was so mad at me. But as he worked, I saw something stir in him. He felt in control. He was able to be physical without getting in trouble. He began to learn to control his body and with it came his mind. “Mom, I don’t want to tell you I enjoyed it because I don’t want you to do the ‘told you so,’” he told me after class. “But I’ve set a goal to get my Camo belt.”

    Something happened after that. At school, the kids picked on him less and less, and others kids started standing up for him.

    In Tao Kwan Do, he went from a white belt with no stripes, to an Orange, then a Yellow and recently achieved his Camo! He’s participated in two competitions and placed 2nd and 3rd. And he’s started trying things he was afraid to do. Kids still try to pick on him, but he’s more confident.

    The best advice I can share is build your child up. Help them find who they are and to embrace that. Teach them to stand up for other kids and always be the kid they hoped would have been there for them. Now off to hug a child.


    Debbie LaCroix is a children’s book author and seller & mom to Alex and Billy. You can visit her online at www.debbielacroix.com or www.goreadtoday.com.


  • Featured Post

    Meet Upstander Adam Plant

    Portrait of Adam Plant

    You grew up in rural North Carolina. Can you share a little about what that experience was like and how you felt your community responded to diverse identities (yours and others)?
    Growing up in rural North Carolina had pros and cons like most places. I had a very idyllic childhood. I grew up in the country with acres of woods in my backyard. Some of my fondest memories growing up are playing in those woods. However, living in a rural area, I didn’t have access to much in the way of diversity. My town was very homogenous, so anybody who was different tended to stand out.

    I already moved away by the time I came out as trans, but the local paper did run a news story on me as part of a series about people in the community who were made to feel invisible. I knew that there would be people in the community who would respond negatively to the news story, but I was actually surprised at the number of positive responses the story received. It was an eye-opening experience.

    Have you ever been bullied or felt like you were in a hostile space directed at you? If so, could you share what happened?
    During my first year of high school, I was the target of two female bullies who were also first-year students. It was my first year at a K-12 school, and had a hard time making friends because I was very shy and withdrawn. These two girls saw an opportunity and decided to take advantage of it. They never physically harmed me, but they verbally abused me in the hallway, left drunken voicemails on my phone during the weekends, and generally made me feel as if I had no safe space in my life.

    What do you find the most effective way to approach a bullying situation?
    Firm and direct confrontation with the bully can be effective. Most bullies don’t expect their victims to respond with any measure of confidence. So, when they do, it can throw them off their game. If you feel comfortable, find a public space to do this. Look them in the eye, and use “I feel…” statements. Involving your support network is also effective. Letting a bully know that you are, in fact, not alone, even if it is a teacher, or a parent.

    Do you think bullies can change? If so, how?
    In my experience, one of the girls who bullied me came to me the following year and apologized for the things she had done. Although we were never friends and I was never able to really trust her, I believe the change she expressed was genuine.

    What facet of trans-identity do you believe would help people better understand how to increase inclusiveness and how that inclusion enriches their community?
    I think remembering that trans people are, first and foremost, people, is the first step in helping society understand how trans people want to be included. When it comes to bathrooms, for example, we are not asking for special treatment—just the same rights that everyone has.

    As a transman of faith, how did your faith community respond to your transition? What do you think other faith organizations can learn to do (or not to do) from your experience?
    I came out during my first year as a seminary student, and my community at school was incredibly welcoming and affirming. It was a wonderful place to discover who I was and to begin my journey of becoming. Other faith communities, including former ones from my hometown, had mixed responses. I have had people tell me I am going to hell or that I am turning my back on God’s plan for my life by transitioning.

    I always tell faith communities that they can do three things to be more affirming of trans people:

    • Be specific in your welcome. That is, let particularly oppressed groups know that they are welcome in your church
    • Make the space welcoming. Make sure bathrooms are accessible to people of any gender identity
    • Talk about it. Use trans people as positive examples in your sermons, hold educational forums, have resources on hand, etc.

    What do you think people should be doing to create safe space?
    I think we should be having dialogue about issues that we think are taboo or that make us uncomfortable, because that is where we are going to find that we are more alike than we think, and that at the core, most of us want the same thing.

    If you could say one thing to anyone who is the victim of bullying, what would it be?
    You are not wrong. You are not sick. You are not broken. You are not alone.


    Adam Plant is a queer trans man of faith and a recent graduate of Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Adam hopes to pursue a vocation that allows him to do advocacy work at the intersection of gender identity, sexual orientation, and faith/spirituality. In his free time Adam enjoys acting and producing with local theatre companies and going on adventures with his dog, Obiwan Kenobi. Follow him on Twitter: @LiminalAdam

    Photo of Adam Plant courtest of Jenny L. Viars, Dancing Lemur Photography


  • Featured Post

    Perils of Mob Shaming: Clementi’s Speak Out

    This week PBS Thirteen aired its latest episode of MetroFocus, “Mob Shaming and Its Deadly Consequences.” Jane and James Clementi sat down tpbs interviewo talk with Jack Ford about the experiences of their son and brother Tyler and the emotional toll of cyber-bullying. Check out the full interview here!

    Mob shaming is not a new phenomena. It’s formal definition is “a large group or crowd of people who are angry or difficult to control.” We have seen this side of humanity expressed throughout history, from ancient societies to the present day. With the invention of the internet and social media, today’s mob lashes out in the form of online cruelty that is often anonymous and yet deeply personal for the target. Most of us cannot imagine what it would be like to be the victim of such online cruelty. For Tyler Clementi this was a reality.

    We believe that the best way to change the culture of mob shaming and online harassment is to prevent bullying before it happens. Our Foundation’s programs are built on this goal of prevention. To create a culture of kindness and inclusion in your school, workplace or sports team today, check out our #Day1 Campaign! Being an Upstander starts with you.

     

     


  • Featured Post

    Meet Upstander Becky Curran

    Portrait of Becky Curran

    How do you define bullying?
    Bullying to me is when one person projects their insecurities on another person, who is negatively affected, whether it’s emotional or physical, online or in person.

    Why is the issue of bullying important to you?
    Growing up with a physical difference, more specifically achondroplastic dwarfism has made me a target of bullying. I was fortunate to have close family members and friends who protected me, for the most part, from potential bullies while growing up. However, I mentor young people with dwarfism who are negatively affected by bullying almost every day. Bullying in any form is not okay.

    Have you ever been bullied or felt like you were in a hostile space directed at you? If so, could you share what happened?
    I’ve never been physically bullied but I was emotionally bullied at certain points during high school and college. People didn’t want to hang out with me because I was “different.” Both in high school and during my first year in college, there would be nights that I stayed up feeling alone and upset. However, throughout the whole time, I was fortunate to have constant unconditional love and support from my parents and sister.

    What do you find the most effective way to approach a bullying situation?
    The person being bullied should speak up or write their feelings down on paper. They shouldn’t be afraid to report bullying. If it affects someone, it will most likely affect more people in the future. People can prevent it from continuing by talking to a reliable source (i.e. family member, friend, mentor, and/or teacher). They may even be willing to address the bully, in a professional manner, with the option of keeping your name anonymous.

    How do you feel the words we use play a role in building or inhibiting community?
    Any word used in a comment or observation that is used to poke fun at someone isn’t appropriate. Just because someone looks or acts different from the “norm,” it doesn’t mean that they should be treated differently or made fun of. It’s important to use respectful words and to treat others the way that you want to be treated in return.

    What do you think communities should be doing to create safe space for diverse identities such as individuals with disabilities?
    It’s important for every community to be inclusive of everyone in it. Ask questions and don’t make assumptions. People of all abilities should have equal access to everything offered within their community. Don’t segregate any one demographic. Every community should treat everyone the same, with an equal amount of respect and kindness.

    How do you feel young people with disabilities handle situations differently than adults? What can we learn or improve upon?
    Young people are afraid to speak up because they assume that will make the situation worse. They’re afraid that the bully will find out that they’re being reported. Adults may speak up but can sometimes be known to speak before they think. Having a clear head is important for addressing any problem. People should collect their thoughts by writing down their feelings before they address the situation. Of course if anyone ever feels like their life is at stake, they should call the police.

    You are a motivator! If you could do one thing to motivate people to stop bullying, what would you do?
    Before you act, think about how you feel if that was the way that someone treated you. Hopefully that thought prevents you from moving forward in the role of a bully.

    How would you say you stand up to bullying?
    I’m comfortable with myself and don’t let people’s negative comments and thoughts get to me. I think that the act of ignoring is more effective than reacting to negative comments being directed towards you. Based on my experience, people stop bothering me once they realize that their comments don’t affect me. I’m proud to be me and I’m not going to let others negative reactions towards me affect my happiness.

    Who (or what) do you turn to for support when you are having a rough day?
    When I’m having a rough day, I head towards the closest body of water to reflect on the situation at hand. I may even choose to call a family member or close friend.


    Becky Curran dreams about a bully free world. She’s always been passionate about changing perceptions of people with disabilities in the media, since that ultimately affects how they’re treated in our society. As a diversity consultant and international public speaker, she has delivered motivational speeches throughout the United States and Kenya, proving to people that anything is possible for people of all abilities. Learn more at her site or follow her on Twitter: @BeckyMotivates.


  • Featured Post

    Expert Tips: Cyberbullying

    Cyberbullying expert tips.

    Being online means interfacing with innumerable individuals behind the screen of nicknames and avatars. Take the Upstander Pledge and you know that the first steps to stopping hostility online is to stand up to bullying and support individuals targeted by cruelty. We asked cyberbullying expert Sameer-Hinduja, Ph.D., to share several more tips to identify and end bullying.


    Tips for Teens

    Protect your password
    Safeguard your password and other private information from prying eyes. Never leave passwords or other identifying information where others can see it. Also, never give out this information to anyone, even your best friend. If others know it, take the time to change it now!

    Setup privacy controls
    Restrict access of your online profile to people you know and trust. Most social media platforms offer you the ability to share certain information with friends/followers only, but these settings must be configured in ordered to ensure maximum protection.

    Raise awareness
    Start a movement, create a club, build a campaign, or host an event to bring awareness to cyberbullying. While you may understand what it is, it’s not until others are aware of it too that we can truly prevent it from occurring.


    Tips for Educators

    Download Your #Day1 Toolkit

    Ready to end bullying in your classroom from #Day1? Download your free two page #Day1 Toolkit for your classroom to prevent bullying, whether face-to-face or online.

    Teach students that all forms of bullying are unacceptable, and that cyberbullying behaviors are potentially subject to discipline. Have a conversation with students about what “substantial disruption” means. They need to know that even a behavior that occurs miles away from the school could be subject to school sanction if it substantially disrupts the school environment.

    Educate your community. Utilize specially-created cyberbullying curricula, or general information sessions such as assemblies and in-class discussions to raise  awareness among youth. Invite specialists to come talk to staff and students. Send information out to parents. Sponsor a community education event. Invite parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and any other relevant adult. Incentivize it if necessary!

    Cultivate a positive school climate, as research has shown a link between a perceived “negative” environment on campus and an increased prevalence of bullying and cyberbullying among students. In general, it is crucial to establish and maintain a school climate of respect and integrity where violations result in informal or formal sanction.


    Tips for Parents

    Establish that all rules for interacting with people in real life also apply for interacting online or through cell phones. Convey that cyberbullying inflicts harm and causes pain in the real world as well as in cyberspace.

    Monitor your child’s activities while they are online. This can be done informally (through active participation in, and supervision of, your child’s online experience) and formally (through software). Use discretion when covertly spying on your kids. This could cause more harm than good if your child feels their privacy has been violated. They may go completely underground with their online behaviors and deliberately work to hide their actions from you.

    Cultivate and maintain an open, candid line of communication with your children, so that they are ready and willing to come to you whenever they experience something unpleasant or distressing in cyberspace. Victims of cyberbullying (and the bystanders who observe it) must know for sure that the adults who they tell will intervene rationally and logically, and not make the situation worse.


    About the Expert

    Portrait of Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D.Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. is Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center found online at cyberbulling.org and Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University. You can learn more about him and his speaking schedule at his site.


  • Featured Post

    A Message About the Orlando Tragedy

    tcf-news-orlando-tragedy_843x843“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


  • Featured Post

    New Article in Wall Street Journal Unveils Latest Cyber-Bullying Info

    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.


  • Featured Post

    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.


  • Featured Post

    Did You Know That Tyler Clementi was African American?

    Ama Karikari-Yawson Esq., Author of Sunne's Gift and Founder of Milestales Publishing and Education Consulting

    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!

    Please see my TEDx talk on this very topic.

    About the Author

    Ama Karikari-Yawson, Esq., is the author of Sunne’s Gift and Founder of Milestales Publishing and Education Consulting


  • Featured Post

    The Journey Behind our New Logo

    Tyler Clementi Foundation 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.


Where do you stand?

How do you judge if something should be called ‘hate speech’?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...