Purple Letter Campaign
Working to make BC schools safe and inclusive for all Students
The above is the slogan for the purple letter campaign that took place in the fall of 2011 across BC schools. This is a campaign encouraging students and supporters to write letters on the issue of homophobic bullying. The objective is to get the BC government to pass a 'sexual orientation and gender identity policy for BC schools' (from the web page).
The campaign was led by two people, Kaitlin Burnett and Ryan Clayton, who have been involved in raising public awareness of homophobic bullying for quite some time. You can read about them on the web page.
I came to know about this through my daughter who is a student in a BC high school. She is also co-founder of the school's GSTA (Gay Straight Transgender Alliance) and one very wonderful and brave person.
What the Campaign is All About
If you check the media, you read many articles about people acting to raise awareness of this issue. You also, sadly, read about suicides triggered by homophobic bullying as well as ongoing incidents of bullying in schools. It seems the rights many of us take for granted are not extended to all of the population - and its a hidden issue.
While this type of bullying is well known to take place in high schools, very few schools have a strong program for combating it. The purple letter campaign supports bringing in a policy from the top - rather than leaving it up to each school or district. The campaign draws attention to homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism .
Heterosexism - now that is a new word for me. What it is, is the belief that you have more 'rights' or are 'better' because you are, or seem to be, heterosexual. Just another kind of prejudice. This document explains it all very well - http://pride.lusu.ca/pdf/Educators/bullying_sexual...
Great Stuff on Amazon
What You Can Do
The letters that had been collected were delivered to BCs Minister of Education on October 25, 2011. This was a great show of support and contained many very personal accounts.
But politicians need to be continually pushed or the issue does not stay for-front in their minds. Even with all the recent attention, Ministers of Education, themselves, are not always up to date on the issue or how well, or poorly, their province is doing. Check our some of the news reports in your area to see how your minister is doing. Opened my eyes!!
So what can you do now?? Very straightforward - write your own letter. Its not as if this issue has been solved by the delivery of the letters in October - write to your Provincial Minister of Education. They are listed in this document - http://pridenet.ca/wp-content/uploads/letter-writi... which also has some very good tips on writing a reasoned, well supported letter.