By Mike Kastner

Monday, Nov. 14, was the first event held by the Stony Brook Stand Up charter. I had the great pleasure of being a part of that event and making it happen.

The event focused on standing up against bullying towards the LGBT community. We had several demonstrations and skits discussing the different stories that some students have experienced. Some of the skits were very emotional, and I noticed that some members of the audience could really empathize with what was going on.

LGBT bullying has become a more prevalent issue in the media. Compared to their peers, LGBT youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to be bullied. About 30 percent of all completed suicides have been related to sexual identity crisis.

My favorite, and biggest, contribution I made to the cause was the inspirational video my good friend Maddy Ransom and I made. We worked very hard to bring awareness to the toll that bullying takes on young students. The video left the audience with the simple question, “Will you make a difference?”

I feel that the Stand Up Against Bullying event was very successful. Each of the activities we had planned really seemed to hit an emotional spot with the audience. I really feel that as people left, they wanted to make a difference and be the change needed to prevent the emotional trauma that so many people have felt.

Bullying is a major issue that needs to be stopped. In fact, about 9 out of 10 LGBT teens have reported being bullied at school within the past year because of their sexual orientation.

Being a part of the Stand Up charter has really been an eye-opening experience for me. The people involved are so passionate about the cause, and I am so proud of all the hard work everyone put in to make the event happen. I am so proud of what we accomplished that day.

I look forward to continue working with the Stand Up charter here at Stony Brook. It’s all about raising awareness of the effects of bullying, and what each and every one of us can do to put an end to it. Too many precious lives have been lost. It’s time that we stand up against bullying.