This year’s Spirit Day is upon us, and everything from your Twitter feed to your T-shirt can be a part of the action.
Founded in 2010, the annual celebration is meant to show support for LGBT youth and to combat bullying wherever it occurs. Two years ago, teenager Brittany McMillan asked her friends to join her in wearing purple in order show respect for bullied LGBT youth who had taken their own lives. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) heard of Brittany’s idea and helped to grow her small but important gesture into a large scale campaign to combat bullying and rally support for LGBT youth. Hundreds of corporations, TV shows, schools and organizations both big and small have pledged to show their support by wearing purple, representing “spirit” in the rainbow flag of LGBT Pride, on October 19.
All you have to do is wear the color to participate in this nationwide event. Tons of celebrities have joined the cause, including Fran Drescher, Glee’s Diana Agron, Margaret Cho, Chaz Bono and Bernadette Peters. Spirit Day Ambassadors include Shaquille O’Neal, George Takei and Maria Menounos, who serve as prominent figures in supporting Spirit Day and the positive message it brings to those struggling with their sexual orientation. The Duke Energy Tower in Charlotte, NC will join the New York Stock Exchange, Thomson Reuters’ Times Square screen, the LAX Pylon Lights and JFK traffic tower in lighting up purple on Friday.
“Showing support for your friends, family and teachers can make all the difference in the world to young LGBT people, whether they are going through a tough time or not,” said McMillan.
Like the viral It Gets Better campaign, Spirit Day encourages caring individuals to get involved with a simple message: That there is no reason anyone should take his or her own life, and we’ll do whatever we can to let young people know things are going to improve.