Starting at noon on October 5th and ending one week later on October 12th, students at colleges and high schools across the country will write messages of love and equality on sidewalks using chalk. The timing is meant to coincide with Coming Out Day, which is October 11th.The students at Drew University started a tradition of writing messages of equality and love to LGBT individuals. Jen Dugan has taken on spreading this tradition to other schools, creating the 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project.
For those of you unfamiliar with chalk messages, they are a time honored tradition at many schools. Chalk messages were written on sidewalks to protest the Vietnam war, to announce campus events and to make relevant, political statements for at least 40 years now. It’s good to know that something as simple as a piece of chalk and a sidewalk can send a message.
Please encourage your school’s Gay Straight Alliance, LGBT Union or other student groups to participate. You can find information on how to participate in this project at the end of this blog. We would like to share with you the following message from The Chalk Message Project”
Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) community are far too often the subject of hateful rhetoric. From slurs to jokes to anti-gay sermons spewed around the country – society often tries to tell us that GLBTQ individuals are evil or strange.
Despite the incredible strides being made with equality – GLBTQ individuals are still often made to feel isolated and alone. Anywhere from 25-50% of GLBTQ youth are initially rejected by their families. An estimated 60% of GLBTQ youth feel unsafe in American schools due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. GLBTQ youth are still four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
It’s time to combat the influence of hateful rhetoric that seeks to isolate members of the GLBTQ community. It’s time to remind our community members that they are never alone.
During the 2005-2006 academic year, students at Drew University began penning inspirational messages in sidewalk chalk that read, “You are loved,” “You are wonderful,” and “You are beautiful.”
These chalk messages quickly became a familiar quirk around Drew’s campus – popping up every Coming Out Week and Day of Silence to remind members of the GLBTQ community that they are loved – and that their love is appreciated.
In April of 2009, a member of Montclair State University’s Spectrums approached one of the original authors of the chalk messages. She asked her if the initiative could be made statewide.
Why stop at statewide?
This year, we are asking colleges and high schools everywhere to participate in the chalk message project.
All that is required is a simple piece of sidewalk chalk – and a couple of your own inspirational, positive quotes. Write these quotes all over the grounds of your campus – for everyone to see.
We also highly encourage schools participating to write an opinions piece to your school newspaper explaining the meaning behind the project. Let’s educate society on the need for loving dialogue rather than divisive hate speech.
What: 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project
When: Monday October 5th, 2009
Where: College campuses and high schools everywhere
This project will continue to occur annually at the beginning of Coming Out Week
Please send us an email if your school plans to participate!!!!!!
Note: Some campuses have rules against using sidewalk chalk. If your school would like to participate but is encountering red tape, please send us an email. We will contact your school and explain to them that this is not graffiti. This is part of an equality project.
~*Help us spread the word. Invite all your friends*~ Click here to join the Facebook group
Please share the message and invite your friends to their Facebook group. Also, we’d love to see photos after the event, so be sure to upload them and send us a link!
On September 30, 2009, Jen Dugan will be the guest on Closet Talk at 8 pm central time. Please join us and learn more about Jen and the 1st Annual Nationwide You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project.