BY CARA CASTILLO, Guest Writer
In 2010, America was facing a dramatic rise in teen and young adult suicide. With the media’s attention cast on devastating stories such as Tyler Clementi’s–the young college student who committed suicide after suffering bullying for being gay–MTV, actress Brittany Snow, and the Jed Foundation teamed up to support anyone who was feeling mistreated, misunderstood, or alone.
This became the “Love is Louder” movement, which has since spread to communities, schools, and organizations across the country. And in recent years, the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s PRIDE organization, the sorority Phi Sigma Sigma, and now, the fraternity Phi Sigma Phi have begun to promote “Love is Louder” at our campus.
On Valentine’s Day, PRIDE, Phi Sigma Sigma, and Phi Sigma Phi took over the University Center stage. On the table was a poster, declaring “Love is Louder Than…” which students could then sign with their own thoughts.
“Love is louder than discrimination”, “love is louder than violence”, and “love is louder than insecurity” read some of the students’ messages. These messages are meant to take a stance against bullying, negative self-image, and depression, and to show support for those who suffer from these issues.
“I really love the meaning of this event,” says Janet Browne, “which is really that love is louder and more powerful than anything; that love can conquer all.” Browne is an active member of the Panhellenic sorority Phi Sigma Sigma, whose involvement with PRIDE has become a very meaningful part of her life. “I was in Phi Sigma Sigma already so it was a perfect fit. Phi Sigma Sigma’s core value of inclusion is a natural pair for PRIDE.”
PRIDE was initially formed in March 2012 in order to support the inclusion and alliance of the UM-D student body, with special attention to the gay and allied community.
“To achieve this goal, PRIDE will focus specifically on activism, social awareness, social justice, and community outreach,” reads PRIDE’s Facebook page. The student organization is very active on campus and continually holds events to increase awareness.
The UM-D “Love is Louder” event has been met with enthusiasm and has achieved a very positive response from the student body. The event’s popularity is overwhelming–students crowd around the UC stage to sign the poster and spread awareness.
The Greek community is one of the foremost supporters of the event. This year marks the first that the fraternity Phi Sigma Phi has been a part of the event, and the school’s other fraternities and sororities are also enthusiastic about supporting and promoting it.
“Whenever one organization has an event, there’s always at least a few members from the other organizations that help make sure the event is a success,” says Sam Cooley, the Social Chairman of Phi Sigma Sigma. “We all care about the Greek community and the support we get from each other.”
As PRIDE, Phi Sigma Sigma, and Phi Sigma Phi work together to promote the importance of inclusion and the “Love is Louder” movement, awareness continues to spread throughout the school and touch the student body. Browne believes this is a step in the right direction:
“I thinks it puts into perspective that if we just keep trying and keep love in the picture that we can eventually conquer all the injustices in the world. One injustice in one place is a direct threat to justice everywhere.”
To get involved with “Love is Louder”, visit www.loveislouder.com.