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Silent walk across GWB to honor Tyler Clementi

October 16, 2010 9:01:00 PM PDT
There was a silent walk across the George Washington Bridge in honor of Tyler Clementi on Saturday morning. Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the bridge after his Rutgers roommate allegedly streamed a video of him having sex with another young man.

Those who participated took time to reflect on his death. "It's scary and touching to know that people's lives have been lost here. That people feel there's no hope in the world," Franklin Lakes resident Sommer Sheik said.

People brought roses and tossed them into the Hudson River. Of the nearly 100 who gathered, most didn't even know Clementi, but cried about his death anyway.

Now, people are speaking out on his behalf. Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns said, "One day when I was in the 9th grade, just starting Crowley High School I was cornered by some older kids who roughed me up. They said that I was a [expletive] and that I should die and go to hell where I belonged."

Clementi's death lead Joel Burns, an openly gay city councilman in Fort Worth, Texas, to tell a story about being bullied when he was 13 at Tuesday night's council meeting.

It was the first time he ever talked about what happened that day and how it affected him. Still so painful, he couldn't finish his story. "I don't want my mother and father to bear the pain of hearing this," Burns wept.

What was just a routine city council meeting is now a viral video approaching two million hits on YouTube.

Burns said, "I've often thought wouldn't it be wonderful if I could go back and show to the me that existed as a teenager that really didn't think that the future was all that bright at times, and show him just the amazing wonderful things that have happened in the course of my adult life."

It's a message millions wonder if it would have made a difference for gay teens who have ended the torment of bullying by ending their own lives.


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