Why I’m Wearing Purple Today

This is (hopefully) a quick post about why I’m wearing purple today. (And, no, my son is wrong–it’s NOT pink!) I tend to keep this blog pretty non-political, ditto with a lot of my social networking stuff. It’s actually always been pretty hard for me to Speak Loudly in public (NOT in private; ask anyone in my family), and for years as an adolescent and woman in my young twenties, I did a lot of tucking my head, swallowing my anger, and not saying anything.

Too much.

Most of that quiet was about me, not about others, but–you know–not all of it.

Bottom line: Teen suicide is too important to be quiet about. Teen suicide that’s happening because cruel, careless, thoughtless…STUPID people are persecuting these kids is WAY too important.

I honestly don’t know if wearing purple will do a thing. I don’t know if the It Gets Better campaign will do enough–let’s face it, things should be better NOW. But–yes, if it makes one teen hold on, speak out, ask for help, NOT kill themselves, then it’s doing something, helping someone, and that counts. So maybe my wearing purple does, too.

Symbols. Sometimes they’re as frustrating as the problem they’re trying to fight–because even while I wear this shirt, someone else out there is alone and frightened and angry and way too close to despair.

The alternative, though—NOT wearing this color—felt worse.

This just gets to me so much, because it feels like history repeating itself over and over and over…Gays can’t marry. My father had a good friend who, not that many years ago, had to go to Arizona to get married, because California wouldn’t let him marry the Japanese woman he loved. Gay teens are killing themselves. Black men got lynched. Some of my family escaped Germany, some didn’t.

I could look at that paragraph and see the differences. But what I see is the sameness. Hatred. Narrow-mindedness. Fear.

And then, I guess, I just keep speaking out and fighting. And, yes, today–wearing purple.


  1. I hadn’t heard about the purple shirt thing, but I keep hoping that one day humans will stop persecuting people who are different from them. There has to be hope for us somewhere down the road, right?


    • beckylevine says:

      Sometimes, I feel like one group gets “safe,” just to make room for another to be persecuted. And I do wonder, in the dark parts of my mind, how many people from those now “safe” groups are participating in the new persecution.

      But…we keep hoping. Yes. Hugs!


  2. It IS way too important to not speak up, in one way or another! Thanks for posting this heartfelt declaration. I’ve got my purple on, too.


  3. kathyerskine says:

    Well said, Becky! Thank you.


  4. Jeanie W says:

    I’m wearing a purple shirt, but I haven’t been around any teenagers today. Maybe my FB status got the message to the right people. My daughter is wearing purple at college. I wonder how purple our local high school was today.


    • beckylevine says:

      I’m wondering if the teens do know about it–how much we’re reaching them with OUR message, versus the other one. Fingers crossed. 🙂


      • Jeanie W says:

        Well, my daughter knows about it and she’s a teen (for just two more months). Bullying is less of an issue in college (although it is not entirely over by then). My tenth grader niece knows about the cause, but seemed pretty unsure about wearing purple. She’s in a new school this fall, so she may be even less secure than your average teenager about doing things that could have an adverse effect on her image with some groups. I am very glad not to be in high school any more. 🙂


  5. Ruth says:

    My daughter’s school did a “wear rainbow colors” day… I didn’t know it went beyond their school, or I would have done it too. Thanks for speaking out. You’re right, it’s too important to keep quiet about.


  6. nrhatch says:

    Wonderful post. Thanks, Becky.


  7. I wore purple, too. I saw alot of people wearing purple here in Asheville. I think it makes a difference; if nothing else, it gets people talking, and that’s an important first step.


    • beckylevine says:

      You’re right–we do have to talk about it and be seen. And I think that’s what this part is about.


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