The family of Tyler Clementi create a foundation to raise awareness of LGBT suicide prevention

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It has been over a year since the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi. Today his family created a foundation to discourage harassment of LGBT teens. The Rutgers freshman jumped off the George Washington Bridge in September of 2010 shortly after his roommate had videotaped him with another man during a sexual encounter.

The Tyler Clementi Foundation aims to “raise awareness of cyberbullying by promoting responsibility in our children’s personal lives and online presence. We want them to understand the importance of their words and actions,” Joe Clementi, Tyler’s father, wrote in a statement on the foundation’s website.

The foundation’s launch coincides with the Clementi family’s first public interview since Tyler’s death.

“Not a minute goes by that I don’t think about him,” Jane Clementi, Tyler’s mother, told People magazine. It wouldn’t be fair to Tyler’s memory to let this slide… something good has to come out of this terrible situation.”

“It’s especially hard right now, because this was his favorite time of year,” she said. “So we’re trying to find a new way to celebrate Christmas. I’m sad – and trying to get through it.”

“The nationwide outpouring of compassion following Tyler’s death has been truly humbling and comforting for our family” said his father, Joseph Clementi, who is president of the new foundation. “During that time we have become increasingly aware of the difficulties young people face due to their sexual orientation, especially in this digital age.

Clementi explained that the Foundation will also support research into the cause and prevention of teenage suicide. “Our family was devastated by Tyler’s death and we know that thousands of other families have experienced similar situations,” he said. “We want to do our part to help save lives and reduce the anguish of those who are tormented because of the way they look, their sexual orientation, or just for being different.”

Dharun Ravi, 19, the roomate who streamed Clementi’s sexual encounter live online, is scheduled to stand trial next February. He is accused of a hate crime and 13 other offenses. Prosecutors say Ravi targeted Clementi because he was gay. Ravi has pleaded not guilty.

Rutgers University announced gender-neutral housing shortly after the Clementi suicide. The new policy allows students to request roommates of the opposite sex if they so choose. One dorm on campus has been designated for this purpose.

New Jersey, with proding from Garden State Equality and dozens of other local LGBT activist organizations, enacted the strongest antibullying law in the country shortly after the suicide of Clementi. The bill passed with virtually no opposition. Activists say the New Jersey legislation is the most comprehensive of its kind in the U.S.

The Clementis plan to contribute to anti-bullying initiatives through their new foundation. The foundation is seeking contributions to help in its mission. It is a duly certified 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all contributions are tax deductable.

For additional information visit www.TheTylerClementiFoundation.org.  You may also write to PO Box 54 Ridgewood, NJ 07451-0054.

 

It has been over a year since the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi. Today his family created a foundation to discourage harassment of LGBT teens. The Rutgers freshman jumped off the George Washington Bridge in September of 2010 shortly after his roommate had videotaped him with another man during a sexual encounter.