Brandon Bitner was 14 years old when he committed suicide on November 5, 2010. Brandon was constantly bullied by his peers at Midd-West Middle and High Schools in Middleburg, Pa.
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Brandon on MDNA
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Category Archives: Bullying
From the To This Day Project:
To This Day Project is a project based on a spoken word poem written by Shane Koyczan called “To This Day”, to further explore the profound and lasting impact that bullying can have on an individual.
Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools to confront this problem. We can give them a starting point… A message that will have a far reaching and long lasting effect in confronting bullying.
Animators and motion artists brought their unique styles to 20 second segments that will thread into one fluid voice.
This collaborative volunteer effort will demonstrate what a community of caring individuals are capable of when they come together.
From The Daily Item:
By Evamarie Socha
MIDDLEBURG — It doesn’t get much bigger than Madonna picking up your cause.
A Swedish film company will use a photo of Brandon Bitner in a video it’s producing for Madonna’s upcoming world tour, and will donate $5,000 to the Susquehanna University scholarship in Brandon’s name.
Katie Goodling, Brandon’s cousin, confirmed Saturday a deal with Adamsky Film Production of Stockholm to use Brandon’s photo, one of seven portraits of bullying victims to run in the video.
Each will display with an RIP sign and the person’s name for about three seconds.
Goodling also administers BrandonBitner.com, a website dedicated to bullying prevention and Brandon’s memory. He committed suicide in November 2010, citing incessant bullying at Midd-West High School in the note he left.
Daily Item: SU professor launches book at credit union; Proceeds to be donated to the Brandon Bitner Memorial Scholarship Fund
From The Daily Item:
SELINSGROVE — Susquehanna University creative writing professor and South African native Glen Retief not only plans to launch the paperback version of his memoir, “The Jack Bank,” at his local credit union, Service 1st — a rare choice for literary memoirists, who usually gravitate toward bookstores and libraries. He also intends to donate all book sale proceeds from the event to his university’s Brandon Bitner Memorial Scholarship Fund, in honor of the Mount Pleasant Mills teenager who stepped in front of a truck on Nov. 5, 2010, because he was sick of being the target of antigay bullying.
The book launch will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at Service 1st Federal Credit Union, 3054 North Susquehanna Trail, Shamokin Dam.
If you weren’t able to attend the Celebration of Brandon’s life on the one year anniversary of his death, here is the speech Brandon’s cousin Katie gave at his grave site:
It’s hard to believe that exactly one year ago, we lost our beloved Brandon. I know I speak for everyone who knew Brandon, whether it be family members, close friends or even just acquaintances, when I say this has truly been one of the, if not THE hardest years of our lives. It’s hard waking up each day, knowing that we won’t be seeing Brandon’s bright smile or receiving his goofy text messages. And it’s hard knowing that the only time we’ll ever hear him play violin again is on YouTube or on one of the various recital recordings some of us have.
But as we all stand here today, know that Brandon is always looking down on us. I am fairly certain that he is enjoying watching all of the great things we’ve all accomplished together. Many people say that you learn who your true friends and family are in time of tragedy, and Brandon’s death was no different. He is probably beaming with pride, because even though his death was the most heart wrenching event of many of our lives, we came together and did what Brandon asked in his last request: we made his story known. We made bullying in this community known. And although we’ve experienced many roadblocks, we’ve kept Brandon alive through all of our efforts.
Last year at Brandon’s funeral, I said that Brandon would want us “to celebrate his life and carry on his legacy. I said that we must be ourselves and we must let the world know that tolerance is vital. We must encourage ourselves and our loved ones to follow our dreams. We must carry on Brandon’s passion and love. It’s what he would want.” And I am so unbelievably proud of my family and friends, especially Tammy, Brandon’s mother, for doing just that. Whether it has been through public speaking engagements regarding bullying and suicide, communicating with school leadership, posting on Brandon’s memorial website, raising money for his scholarship at Susquehanna University or simply lending support to those in need… family, friends and strangers alike have reached out and made a difference.
Our success in this mission will never be truly measurable, and that’s okay. Brandon’s story has reached thousands upon thousands of people all over the entire world, thanks to the power of the internet. Hundreds of people have reached out to us, whether it be to offer their condolences or to relate to Brandon’s bullying story. I just know that we’ve done some extraordinary things and maybe, if we’re lucky, even saved at least one person from bullying or suicide. And without all of you, this wouldn’t be possible. Thank you for all of your love, care & support.
I want to leave you with one of the major lessons I learned from my cousin’s death. As I look around, many of the most important people in my life are here today. And unless it happens to you, you never think that someone you are so close to could die so tragically. I know we’ve all asked ourselves, “what could I have done differently?” or “what if I would have said this to Brandon,” or “why didn’t I see this coming?” But I’ve come to realize that Brandon doesn’t blame any of us for what he thought he had to do. What he wants is for us to treat those we care about with unconditional love and pay special attention to the way we talk to our friends and family, and even strangers, because you never know what could be going on behind a happy facade. Only we can stop the cycle of hurt and pain, and I think so far, we’ve done a pretty good job. Once again, thank you for your unwavering support.
Here are a collection of links from the 1 year Celebraton of Brandon’s Life. We raised $1,000 for Brandon’s scholarship. Thanks to everyone who participated!
A message from Brandon’s mom, Tammy:
We raised $1,000.00 dollars for Brandons Scholarship last week. Thank you to everyone who donated, attended the breakfast, got a tattoo, piercing or went to Martins Motorcycle shop for repairs or parts. Big thanks to Enchanted Images and Martins Motorcycle Shop and everyone that donated items and time to help us! I can not put into words how much I appreciate everything everyone has done for us. …So THANK YOU!!!!!!
Please keep Martin and his family in your prayers. He lost his son on the 4th. They are having a yard sale and a bake sale this Friday and Saturday at Enchanted Images to raise money for the family. If you would like to donate items or give a donation please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Enchanted Images Tattoo Studio will be tattooing & piercing in honor of Brandon during our Bullying Awareness Week. 10% of ALL tattoo sales and $5 for each piercing will be donated to the memorial scholarship. 10% of all jewelry, paintings, tie dyes, ceramics & purse sales will also be donated.
Tuesday & Wednesday, November 1 & 2: 12-8pm
Thursday, Friday, Sat. & Sun. November 3-6: 12-10 pm
Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. All Enchanted Images tattoo artists and piercers are participating, PLUS GUEST TATTOOIST BRIAN SHIFFER.
A raffle will also be held at Enchanted Images for the great painting pictured below. The painting is called “Hold it Together” and is by artist Amanda Auman. Stop in to the shop to buy your tickets.
Enchanted Images Tattoo Studio
102 West Market Street, Suite A
Middleburg, PA 17842
Martin’s Motorcycle Shop will be donating 10% of ALL parts and LABOR performed during Bullying Awareness Week to Brandon’s memorial scholarship. Stop in between November 1 and November 5 to get your bike serviced and donate to a great cause.
Martin’s Motorcycle Shop
102 West Market Street
Middleburg, PA 17842
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL PRINTABLE FLYER ON THESE EVENTS! Please help spread the word, thank you!
Also, don’t forget about the pancake breakfast on Sunday, November 6 at Applebees in Shamokin Dam. More info is available on Facebook.
Brandon’s mom Tammy recently spoke at the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition’s Youth Action Conference at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa. We would like to thank PSEC and all of the wonderful people that Tammy and family were able to meet at the conference. If you attended the conference and would like to contact Tammy, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. She is available for speaking appearances in hopes to spread Brandon’s story.
An ALL YOU CAN EAT Pancake Breakfast will be held at the Applebees in Shamokin Dam, PA on November 6, 2011 from 8 AM to 10 AM, coinciding with the other activities for the Celebration of Brandon’s Life. All proceeds will go towards Brandon’s scholarship fund at Susquehanna University.
Adult tickets are $6 and kids 12 and under tickets are $4. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Brandon’s mother, Tammy, via email at email@example.com.
Harrisburg Pa.’s hit music station, KISS 99.3, has launched a campaign to stop bullying. The campaign encourages kids to take a bullying pledge. If they do so, they have an opportunity to win rewards such as an iPad! This is a great local initiative fronted by a strong media out. More information can be found on their website by clicking here.
A friend emailed an interesting story about a Pennsylvania photographer who won’t photograph ugly people to me today. Check it out and let me know – would you have the guts to do something like this?