December 19, 1991 – September 22, 2010
Smart, talented and creative: Tyler Clementi was deeply loved by family and friends for his kind heart and bright spirit. At the young age of 18, he became a victim of a horrible act of cyber-harassment and humiliation. His story puts a human face on the consequences of cruelty, which has been faced by millions of others suffering in silence in their schools, colleges, teams, workplaces, or faith communities. Tyler’s story has inspired tens of thousands of youth and adults to be Upstanders in the face of bullying, harassment and humiliation across the globe.
A Passionate Young Man
Tyler grew up with a passion for music. Tyler began playing the violin in the third grade and became an accomplished violinist. He performed in numerous orchestras and was awarded with several accolades for his musical contributions.
Tyler was also an enthusiastic bicyclist and unicyclist.
By combining his knowledge with creativity and talent, he taught himself to play the violin while unicycling! He understood that we all must learn to embrace unique qualities in others and in ourselves.
The summer after his high school graduation, Tyler was learning to embrace his gay self. He had just begun the important journey of coming out to close family and friends. Tyler was brave and honest about who he was, but this was still a difficult, vulnerable time for him.
What Does “Coming Out” Mean to You?
“Coming out” stories are all very unique, whether disclosing a sexual identity, a gender identity or other personal part of yourself. Have you ever shared a part of yourself and been bullied? Let others know that we can all stand together against bullying.
In August of 2010, Tyler began studying at Rutgers University where he was excited to learn, grow and have the freedom to live openly as a gay man.
He began playing violin at the institution’s high level orchestra. Only a few weeks into his first semester, Tyler’s musical gifts earned him a seat in an orchestra comprised primarily of upperclassmen and graduate students. Tyler was one of only two incoming freshman who made the graduate school orchestra.
Targeted for humiliation
Within weeks, Tyler became the victim of a horrible act of cyber-harassment, a type of bullying or cruelty that takes place using the internet.
One night, Tyler asked his dorm mate, Dharun Ravi, for some privacy because he had a date. Ravi agreed but what Tyler didn’t know was that Ravi was planning a horrible act of humiliation; he secretly pointed his computer’s webcam at Tyler’s bed, and then left.
Stop bullying on #Day1
When is the best time to prevent cruel acts like what happened to Tyler? In your school, office, sports team or other group, we think you should prevent bullying on #Day1 with our free toolkit!
The camera captured Tyler in an intimate act as Ravi invited other students to view it online. Many students at the university contributed to this invasion of privacy by not reporting or stopping what was happening to Tyler.
Tyler discovered what his abuser had done when he viewed his roommate’s Twitter feed. He learned he had widely become a topic of ridicule in his new social environment. He also found out that his roommate was planning a second attempt to broadcast from the webcam.
Several days later, Tyler Clementi ended his life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. He was eighteen years old.
Today, Tyler’s memory lives on thanks to a growing number of #Upstanders with a shared commitment to stand up to bullying, to offer its victims their support, and to treat every individual with dignity and respect, regardless of one’s age, race, nationality, faith, gender identity, sexual orientation or cultural identity. Join the thousands of individuals who have made a pledge to stand up to bullying.
What You Can Do Now
Together, we can educate people on how bullying harms us all, how we can all stand up to bullying and how our unique identities make this world better.
Here’s how you can join us in our goal to end bullying:
- Take the Upstander Pledge, where you join thousands who have firmly committed to actively stand against bullying wherever it may be;
- Download a #Day1 toolkit, where you can bring together people in your school, university, workplace or faith organization to acknowledge and commit to a safe space, free of bullying behavior; and
- Donate to the Tyler Clementi Foundation, where your support can continue these goals and unite us all to remember Tyler’s memory and prevent future tragedy.