On November 13, 2017, at The Tyler Clementi Foundation’s Upstander Legacy Celebration, Mitchell Gold, co-founder and co-chair of Faith in America, and Jane Clementi, co-founder and Vice President of the Tyler Clementi Foundation Board of Trustees, announced that their organizations will be joining forces to work together to end religious-based bullying. The following is a statement from Mitchell Gold:
“Faith in America was founded in 2006 to educate the public about the ongoing harm caused to LGBTQ people, especially youth, by faith-based discrimination. In the early years, leaders and funders in our own LGBTQ communities worked against us because they felt the truthful word “bigotry” was too strident. Many thought we could achieve full equality by avoiding religious issues entirely. Despite this resistance, Faith in America grew through donors and supporters who shared heartbreaking experiences of faith- based discrimination, organized around the inspiring vision of a world where religious denominations no longer teach that homosexuality is a sin.
“The Tyler Clementi Foundation has become a critical partner in achieving this vision. Jane Clementi has a powerful voice as a mother and person of deep faith. And now with Jason Cianciotto as its new executive director, The Tyler Clementi Foundation will become an even stronger and more impactful leader. Faith in America wants to be a part of that. By joining forces and using precious community resources more strategically and efficiently, we can hit the grand slam needed to end faith-based discrimination.
“This is why I joined The Tyler Clementi Foundation Board in September and, in partnership with Faith in America’s Board, have begun the process of closing down our operations as a separate nonprofit. All of Faith in America’s programs, staff, and resources will be transferred to the Tyler Clementi Foundation. These include the Save yOur Kids! Campaign, which informs anti-LGBTQ religious denominations and the general public about the immense harm and suffering caused to LGBTQ youth and adults, as well as our College Accreditation Project, which challenges religious institutions of higher learning that include anti-LGBTQ teachings in their programs that graduate accredited, mental health practitioners.
“I want to thank Faith and America and Tyler Clementi Foundation boards and staff for embracing this visionary plan to join forces. Now more than ever, as anti-LGBTQ religious fundamentalists have taken over our highest political offices, we must protect LGBTQ youth from the lifetime of harm caused by faith-based discrimination and rejection from their families and faith communities. I want to be the first to welcome and invite Faith in America’s donors and supporters to learn more about The Tyler Foundation’s programs and services by exploring TylerClementi.org. Please take the #Upstander Pledge, download and implement the #Day1 bullying-prevention program in your school, workplace, or faith community, and follow us on social media.”