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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

From a student leader...

There are many questions about the exact content of what transpired between the mayor and those present at her community session yesterday. Below is a first-hand account of that meeting that we hope will clear some of those questions up.

She said she wanted to speak with the GSA at the community center during her "office hours" where she meets with Troy residents. We were given I think two days notice, if even that, to get our club together, so we decided to just send a few people.

At first, we wanted her to come to a GSA meeting, but she flat out refused. Instead, our whole club (30-40 members at each meeting, 70+ total) could come to "her community center" where she could speak to us. This wasn't ideal and it wouldn't have the impact we wanted, so we started tossing around ideas about opening this up to the public.

Eventually, we decided on the following. She would have one speaker, we would have one speaker, and she would speak. It would be called prevention, healing, and forgiveness. The event would deal specifically with bullying and therefore suicide. She agreed that we would talk about her comment and how this all came to be as long as she could tell her side. She said she would email us asap with dates for this event.

Us GSA members and like-minded people decided to form a group called CARE: The Troy Diversity Coalition to organize our aspects of the event and support respect for individuals of all backgrounds in Troy.

Three weeks passed. Through all of this, we called and emailed her numerous times and received no response (in fairness, the city's IT department is having trouble with email, but that doesn't excuse not responding phone calls or not responding to emails to her campaign address, which she confirmed she received an email from me on).

I also contacted Amy Weber who would be our speaker. Determined to get a response, she went to the mayor's office hours and started speaking with her. Skye and I got down there as fast as we could (we had to finish school first) and entered right into a heated discussion. Suddenly, there was a completely different event being planned. It was going to be all about suicide, and the mayor absolutely not mention her Facebook post or even bullying as a whole.

The mayor said some very, very ignorant things (psychiatrists are against homosexuality because it is dangerous and separation of church and state isn't real, for example) that were recorded by herself and will hopefully be released per FOIA request. In light of these statements, we decided it would not be a good idea for her to attend an event with already endangered kids, so I told her she can do her suicide event and that's all fine and dandy, but we're doing an anti-bullying event with or without her. We're calling it the Peace Rally or Peace Summit, and that's where we're at right now. We are likely to have some very big names locally and possibly even nationally at the event because we have some really awesome connections. It's going to be big...monumental...and it's going to send a positive message about what our city can do when we pull together.

I think it speaks volumes that a senior in high school is so much more perceptive to this situation than a grown woman in her late 50's who holds the position of mayor of a vibrant suburban city

Don't you?

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