President Obama: “It Gets Better.” {+ Joel Burns}

Via Waylon Lewis
on Oct 21, 2010
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Bonus: Joel Burns’ It Gets Better message has been everywhere over the past few days, with messages like

This Is the Most Touching “It Gets Better” Video You Will Ever See

“I’ve never told this story to anyone,” said Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns during a meeting last night. The story Burns told was about the bullying he faced as a gay teen. Try not to cry while watching this.

President Obama’s message:

President Obama’s “It Gets Better” video. {LGBT; Bullying}

We can celebrate our differences. We can each search our own happiness. Thanks, Mr. President.


Recently, several young people have taken their own lives after being bullied for being gay – or perceived as being gay – by their peers. Their deaths are shocking and heartbreaking tragedies. No one should have to endure relentless harassment or tormenting. No one should ever feel so alone or desperate that they feel have nowhere to turn. We each share a responsibility to protect our young people. And we also have an obligation to set an example of respect and kindness, regardless of our differences.

We all have a responsibility to protect all of our children.  But we also have an obligation to set an example of respect and kindness regardless of our differences.

This is personal to me. When I was a young adult, I faced the jokes and taunting that too many of our youth face today, and I considered suicide as a way out.  But I was fortunate.  One of my co-workers recognized that I was hurting, and I soon confided in her.  She cared enough to push me to seek help.  She saved my life.  I will always be grateful for her compassion and support – the same compassion and support that so many kids need today.

In the wake of these terrible tragedies, thousands of Americans have come together to share their stories of hope and encouragement for LGBT youth who are struggling as part of the It Gets Better Project.  Their messages are simple: no matter how difficult or hopeless life may seem when you’re a young person who’s been tormented by your peers or feels like you don’t fit in: life will get better.

President Obama is committed to ending bullying, harassment and discrimination in all its forms in our schools and communities.  That’s why he recorded this message.

Last year, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services joined forces with four other departments to create a federal task force on bullying.  In August 2010, the task force staged the first-ever National Bullying Summit, bringing together 150 top state, local, civic, and corporate leaders to begin mapping out a national plan to end bullying.   The task force also launched a new website,, which brings all the federal resources on bullying together in one place for the first time ever.

If you’re a young person who’s been bullied or harassed by your peers, or you’re a parent or teacher who knows a young person being bullied or harassed, here are a few resources that can help you:

The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is determined to end suicide among LBGTQ youth by providing resources and a nationwide, 24 hour hotline.  If you are considering suicide or need help, call: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386). is a project of the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP) focused on providing tools and resources for youth, parents, teachers and mental health providers to prevent and address bullying.

It Gets Better Project
President Obama’s video is just one of thousands of videos submitted by people across the country to inspire and encourage LGBT youth who are struggling.  You can watch more videos at

For even more information and resources visit:

  • Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
  • More on/from Joel:


    About Waylon Lewis

    Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


    3 Responses to “President Obama: “It Gets Better.” {+ Joel Burns}”

    1. Joseph Boquiren says:

      Bullying that is not stopped will grow with the person into adulthood. Bullying happens when we view others as inferior to ourselves for whatever stupid reason and we act out that prejudice.

    2. […] adds, “Even fear itself is frightened by the Bodhisattva’s fearlessness.” On October the 12th 2010 I have no doubt that fear trembled as Joel Burns took to the podium! Joel Burns in my opinion, though only a meager city councilman, is the most important American […]

    3. Yogajunkie says:

      I am so glad that this has become a movement and a priority in our society. I was heavily bullied as a teen and young woman. I was lucky enough to have a support system around me that allowed me to take shelter from the crap and grow into a strong and compassionate woman. I see so much suffering that could be stopped with awareness and action on the part of educators and their support systems. Good on ya Obama!!!!