Bold plan is part of “Vision 2020,” a campaign and fundraising effort to significantly expand the impact of the foundation’s work to end all forms of bullying
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 1, 2018
CONTACT: Meredith MacKenzie, West End Strategy Team, MMacKenzie@westendstrategy.com, (202) 776-7700
NEW YORK — At its recent Upstander Legacy Celebration, The Tyler Clementi Foundation announced the “Million Upstander Movement” to mobilize one million people nationwide to stand up to bullying by the fall of 2020, which will mark the tenth anniversary of the death by suicide of Tyler Clementi, who was viciously cyberbullied by his college roommate because of his sexual orientation.
The Million Upstander Movement will reach out to elementary schools, middle and high schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities, sports teams, youth organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of America, workplaces, and individuals to encourage them to take the Upstander Pledge and to speak out for those most vulnerable to bullying. This campaign will be backed by an ambitious fundraising effort, “$1 Million for a Million,” to to build the movement at $1.00 per Upstander.
“The Upstander Pledge is one of our first and foundational programs,” said Jane Clementi, who recently announced that she will become the foundation’s first CEO. “In order to create the culture of kindness needed to prevent bullying and ensure other families do not have to face the unbearable pain of losing a child, we are committed to building a nationwide network of one million Upstanders by the fall of 2020 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of my son’s death.”
To help achieve the Million Upstander Movement, the foundation also announced a new partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to implement a new #Day1 toolkit designed specifically to reach its over 2,600,000 staff, volunteers, and youth served.
“The Upstander Pledge is a transformational, yet simple, tool that challenges people to treat others with dignity, respect, and kindness, to intervene when they witness bullying, and to follow up with those they see affected by bullying,” said Jason Cianciotto, executive director of the foundation. “Our Vision 2020 includes building and mobilizing a critical mass of one million Upstanders nationwide to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities.”
The foundation kicked off the Million Upstander Movement after relaunching its True Faith Doesn’t Bully campaign, spearheaded by Justin Lee, a leading advocate for LGBTQ affirmation in Christian communities. A video about True Faith Doesn’t Bully, an effort to end religious-based bullying, was featured at the foundation’s recent Upstander Legacy Celebration.
“We want to end bullying anywhere and everywhere, and that includes within faith communities, where LGBTQ youth like Tyler Clementi are especially vulnerable,” said Lee. “Religious-based bullying can be particularly pernicious because the bullies often claim to have the backing of God and because bad theology can turn a victim’s own family against them. We’ve just launched a retooled True Faith Doesn’t Bully webpage, and there are a number of updates to come, including brand-new, faith-based #Day1 toolkits.
The Tyler Clementi Foundation’s mission is to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities. Founded in 2011 by Joseph and Jane Clementi in memory of their son Tyler, the foundation’s bullying prevention and education programs include the Upstander Pledge, #Day1, Upstander Speaker Series, Tyler’s Suite, Workplace Training, and True Faith Doesn’t Bully. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is a federal bill that would require colleges and universities receiving federal funding to prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.