I hate writing these kinds of diaries, but these stories--which are near and dear to my heart because of my own experiences--need all the visibility they can get. As the marriage equality dominoes continue to fall both at home and abroad, we continue to be left tragic, horrifying reminders that our work is far from over. This time, it comes from 17-year-old Carlos Vigil of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who took his own life over the weekend.
Carlos was actually an anti-bullying advocate himself. In fact, when he took his life this weekend, he had just returned from a trip on which he used his voice to advocate against bullying. Meanwhile, the bullying he was enduring himself was just too much to bear. He had been bullied for seemingly everything--his weight, his acne, his sexuality. According to his mother, he had endured the bullying since age eight.
He had this lunchbox, a smiley face lunchbox, and people thought it was the funniest lunchbox ever, and they made fun of him for it. They grabbed it on the school bus and just threw it on the floor and broke it. It’s just little things like that.Indeed, the "little things" add up. Carlos had transferred from Los Lunas High School to Valley High School in an attempt to escape the torment, but apparently to no avail. He was going to be a senior this fall.
Before taking his life, he left the following note on Twitter--it will break your heart.
Carlos was taken off of life support this morning. His Twitter account is being left open as a way to raise awareness about the kind of bullying Carlos endured.
It's been said before, but it bears repeating: This emotional torment is not some kind of inevitable rite of passage. Youth like Carlos should not have to "buck up" and take it. Bullying is killing our youth and scarring those who survive. Carlos' family and friends hope his death will not have been in vain. And indeed, his suicide underscores what has been underscored many times before--that we have work to do and a commitment to protect kids like Carlos.
Carlos' classmate Alyssa Cisneros has it right:
Even though now Carlos is gone, we need to focus on what he left trying to say.Rest in peace, Carlos.