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An Origin Story: Spirit Day and Bullying Prevention Month

An Origin Story: Spirit Day and Bullying Prevention Month

A brief history of Bullying Prevention Month and Spirit Day.


October is National Bullying Prevention Month, when conversations start to trend around efforts to address the issue of bullying. Throughout the month, activities are taking place across the country, including Spirit Day, when we show LGBT youth that we have their back.

Bullying Prevention Month turns 10

It was back in 2006 when the Pacer National Bullying Prevention Center, an organization that focuses on improving the lives of youngsters, started the nationwide October campaign for calling attention to the need to educate and unite people in showing kindness.

The movement is turning the tide away from the false idea that bullying is a childhood rite of passage. The major focus is on showing youth kindness and support. During Bullying Prevention Month, the message breaks it down to this: If you care about safe and supportive schools and communities, join the movement. And many millions of people across the country become highly visible and vocal about their involvement.

The call to action has seen a growing response from schools, corporations, celebrities and social media personalities.

Spirit Day! So, what’s with all the purple?

On Spirit Day (that would be October 20 this year), we wear purple. But why purple? It’s inspired by the purple stripe in the LGBT rainbow flag, which is meant to represent the spirit of the community. And, fortunately, over the last six years it’s this spirit that keeps the awareness and involvement growing.

The first Spirit Day was organized in 2010. Not only do individuals of all ages coordinate purple outfits and photo filters to let it be known that they stand with LGBT youth, but many landmarks also go purple on Spirit Day. For the last few years, purple has beamed from landmarks IRL and on the Internet and social media.

This year, GLAAD (Gays and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is spearheading a number of efforts to spread the Spirit Day message. The goal: To get more involvement. Year after year, more and more teachers, schools, corporations, celebrities, media outlets and other community groups have joined in, sending a message of solidarity and acceptance to LGBTQ youth.  

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Pride Editor