Feb 19, 2011
On this occasion, we mark the tenth anniversary of Tempest Smith's passing. On February 20, 2001, she died by her own hand as the result of religious bullying. She was intelligent and talented. But she was twelve years old. At that age, time almost stands still. At that age, torment can seem as if it is never going to end. And that is especially true if people in authority tend to "look the other way." So, those who would think of criticizing her while sitting in their own comfort zones have some things to take into consideration.
It might be wise to look at her and see where it is still happening. I note that there are additional pictures on the Tempest Smith Foundation web site. Pictures of young ones who would have been alive when Tempest died, but the date ranges on their pictures give a clue that they are not living now. And what of those who survived? How are they doing?
Sticks and stones can break our bones, but those are wounds that can heal. Names and words can cause worse wounds, some of which might not ever heal.
And what is being done about bullying? And, most importantly, is it being enforced equally in all directions? If a student gets into major trouble for using "the N-word", will another student get into similar trouble for making a wisecrack about someone being Jewish?
I would like to see people take this as an opportunity to work together. Tempest Smith got bullied because she was a Wiccan, but others get bullied too - including Christians.
There is a tradition in certain paths to commemorate a special person on the day of their passing, and so February 20th is Tempest Smith Day at least so long as I keep saying it (and the rest of you join in). And we could even see her as a patron for religious freedom and also a parton for the victims of bullying.
(ps: The first challenge was getting this to you, between bouts of the flu and equipment issues - but enjoy!)