“He had a blank stare on his face. [He] was listening to his iPod and had a blank stare.” That’s what Rutgers University student Lauren Garcia says of former classmate Tyler Clementi on the last day of life.
According to People magazine, Clementi, just 18, would later drive to the George Washington Bridge and jump into the Hudson River, ending his life.
Clementi’s suicide has been felt deeply all around the world. Any and all teen suicides are devastating, but what led up to Clementi’s–an alleged case of peer bullying–has radically affected us all.
A mere three days before his suicide, Clementi’s roommate Dharun Ravi, 18, allegedly streamed a video of Clementi and another male student in a romantic situation in their dorm room over the Internet via web cam.
Now People is investigating what the world is questioning: was Clementi a victim of bullying? Was this all preventable? The magazine is also taking a look into the teen suicide epidemic, and the timing could not be more appropriate; October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres are also lending their voices to the cause. The talk show host has addressed the link between teen suicide and homophobia in an emotionally-charged video.
Says DeGeneres, “We can’t let intolerance and ignorance take another kid’s life.” To teens in the midst of a struggle similar to Clementi’s, DeGeneres spoke directly, saying, “People’s minds will change, and you should be alive to see it.”