Convened to honor lost youth, the vigil was also a call to action for the LGBTQ community and allies to address the rise in teen suicides. Tyler Clementi, 18, Asher Brown, 13, Seth Walsh, 13, Justin Aaberg, 15, Billy Lucas, 15 and Raymond Chase, 19, each took their own life in the past few weeks.
Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University in New Jersey, committed suicide after his roommate used a webcam to broadcast over the Internet a sexual encounter between Clementi and another man. Two Rutgers students, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, are initially facing invasion of privacy charges.
The glowlight vigil (open flames are prohibited in the park), also highlighted participants’ message to teenagers in crisis: "You Are Not Alone, You Are Loved”.
New York State Governor David Paterson, New York City Council member Daniel Dromm and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn all addressed the crowd, rallying against homophobia and condemning bullies of LGBTQ youth and others in the community.
At approximately 9:25pm, the crowd broke their glow sticks and raised them in the air for a minute of silence. Afterward, 30 Rock and Glee actor Cheyenne Jackson led participants in a rousing rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” while attendees wrote colorful and heartfelt messages of hope in
chalk all around the park.