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Award Recipients > Social Justice Action Award

Award Recipients

Social Justice Action Award

The Social Justice Action Award was created to honor the significant contributions of an individual who exemplifies the integration of multicultural initiatives with social action.

Congratulations to our 2014 Social Justice Action Award Winners: Jane, Joseph, and James Clementi!



Jane Clementi co-founded the Tyler Clementi Foundation alongside husband Joe because she wants to make sure that our society learns the consequences of discrimination and bullying, as she learned all too personally through the loss of her son. A native of New Jersey and devoted mother of three sons, Jane speaks passionately to parents and community leaders about the need to not merely "accept" or "tolerate" children who come out as LGBT, but to embrace them as wondrous creations of God. Jane, a registered nurse, speaks on the need for parents of LGBT children to come out and speak openly of the love they have for their children, and in doing so each one of us can impact the world around us and create accepting environments. Since losing Tyler, Jane's spiritual journey has continued to carry and transform her in ways she never would have imagined. She left her church home of many years because she felt that while sitting in the pews of a church that condemned LGBT people she was herself a bystander to bullying. Jane leads an inspirational life through her unique experience which she shares with other parents, and speaks passionately about the need to divorce the concept of "sin" from homosexuality. She has made difficult choices in an impossible situation, and leads by example. She has spoken out in support of LGBT rights and the need for families and communities to embrace their LGBT populations. Jane has spoken at BNP Paribas Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a variety of universities including The College of New Jersey, high schools and churches.


 

Joseph Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, has worked tirelessly to share the story of his personal loss with public audiences at a variety of organizations. Joseph, a New Jersey-based civil engineer, is the proud father of Tyler Clementi, and the loss of his son has put Joseph's life on a course of activism for LGBT and vulnerable youth across the United States. Having come of age in an era where the capabilities of modern technology (social networking websites, webcams, cell phones, camera phones, etc.) didn't exist, Joseph had his entire world changed when he learned of the ways in which technology intensifies and exacerbates the issues around youth bullying. Additionally, Joseph has been affected in a very personal manner by the ways in which targeting someone because of their sexual orientation can be especially harmful to the victim. Joseph is speaking out because he wants to use his experience as an educational tool and a way to help reach other people who struggle with feeling isolated, uncared for or misunderstood in schools and homes, the areas where they should feel most valued. The primary message that he wants to spread is his goal of turning "Bystanders into Upstanders." His view is that there are three people involved in any type of bullying situation: the bully, the victim, and the bystander who sees it but does nothing to help. Joseph wants to share his message that bystanders to hostile behavior have an obligation to get involved and defend those who are targeted. Joseph has spoken out at a number of institutions, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Long Island Child Abuse Protection Services, Rutgers University 2011 Symposium and CONTACT We Care Suicide Hotline's 2012 Annual Gala.




James Clementi is the older brother of Tyler Clementi. The loss of his brother was a life altering event for James, and sent him on a path of activism and awareness for bullying, suicide prevention, and LGBT rights. Like his brother Tyler, James is gay. The core part of his message is the equality of LGBT people in our society and the devastating consequences of bullying on our young people. Bullying that happens face-to-face and online through social media has become an epidemic among our youth. James is focused on reaching out to LGBT and vulnerable youth, using Tyler's story as a tool to reinforce the inherent value of each life. Respect, love and equality are the key components of his message. James envisions a youth culture where kindness is cool, and respect is the norm. James has written about his experience for Out Magazine, spoken at events such as the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles' First Annual Voice Awards as well as television programs Anderson Cooper 360 and Rock Center with Brian Williams, and has blogged about bullying in The Huffington Post.


Past award recipients include:
 
2014: Urvashi Vaid, J.D.
2013:  Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D.
2012:  Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., D.H.C.
2011:  Bertha G. Holliday, Ph.D.
2010:  Concepcion Saucedo Martinez, Ph.D.
2009:  William E. Cross, Jr., Ph.D. 
2008:  Michelle Fine, Ph.D.
2007:  Ronald Takaki, Ph.D.
2006:  Linda James Myers, Ph.D.
2005:  Jane Elliott
2004:  Bell Hooks