Students left various messages including, "Be Strong," "You are beautiful and worthy" and "Someone is always here to listen," all scribed in purple marker in the Student Center during last Thursday’s Spirit Day event. Co-sponsored by the Women’s Center and the “You’re Not Alone” Anti-Bullying Club, the student body celebrated Spirit Day by creating personal video statements supporting LGBTQA youth, advocating against bullying and writing encouraging notes on the Spirit Day message board.
Spirit Day was started in 2010, and has since taken place on Oct. 16 every year, according to CNN. On this day, people all across the country are encouraged to speak out against bullying and wear purple as a sign of support for LGBTQA youth.
"Observed annually since 2010, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, and public figures wear purple, which symbolizes 'spirit' on the rainbow flag,” stated GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, on their website. Some national organizations that “went purple” for Spirit Day include ABC Family, the National Hockey League, HBO and NBC.
On Ramapo’s turf, the student body showed support of Spirit Day by donning purple and creating video messages, encouraging those affected by bullying, whether for LGBTQA issues or otherwise. In these video messages, students and staff could tell personal stories of bullying, or just articulate a message of encouragement. The camera shy, who wanted to show support without being filmed, could leave a written message on the white board propped up on a table, bearing messages of hope for anyone affected by bullying.
Some members of the Ramapo community spoke solely as an individual, while others grouped up and represented their club or organization in the video. Sophomore Ra’Nasia Sangster, for instance, stopped by and left a message on behalf of Ebony Women for Change with her fellow members.
“I’m really against bullying,” Sangster said. “I was bullied in high school, so I’m here just about spreading the word that nobody is alone and someone’s always also in your position to talk to.”
Others, like senior Chris Duncan, stumbled upon the Spirit Day table and wanted to get involved.
“I just want to communicate that people who are affected by it, it always gets better and you can always seek help,” said Duncan.
Representatives from counseling services were also there to support the Spirit Day initiative spearheaded by the Women’s Center.
“We’re trying to coordinate more with the Women’s Center and program with them on campus. I think this is an important issue for students to be aware of,” said Michael Alcee, a psychological counselor who tabled for a portion of the event.
According to Aclee, Spirit Day is a way to combat student suicide, an issue counseling services deals with closely. Spirit Day took off after the suicide of Tyler Clementi.
“This issue touches on student suicide, an issue that’s very important to us at the counseling center,” explained Aclee. “There are 1,100 student suicides a year, so it’s a very serious issue across the board. This is just a way of getting out more information and education about the topic.”