FORT LEE, N.J. — The family of the Rutgers University student whose suicide sparked a national conversation about the treatment of young gay people paid their first visit Sunday to the bridge where he took his life.
Members of Tyler Clementi’s family crossed The George Washington Bridge to New York City to help raise awareness about the dangers of bullying.
Clementi’s mother, Jane, and brother, James, linked arms and walked with Ronnie Kroell and Elliot Dal Pra London, co-founders of The Friend Movement, who had walked from Chicago to New Jersey in Tyler’s memory as part of a bullying awareness campaign. More than 50 others, wearing purple or sporting purple ribbons, joined them to cross the span that connects Fort Lee, N.J., to upper Manhattan.
The 18-year-old Rutgers freshman jumped to his death in 2010 after finding out his roommate had used a webcam to spy on him kissing a man in their dorm room.
Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, spent 20 days in jail after being convicted of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and witness tampering. He is appealing.
Ravi was not charged with causing Clementi’s death, but the Clementi family has said they believe Ravi’s behavior was a factor, especially in light of tweets he sent that were part of the case against him.
Clementi’s mother told The Star-Ledger of Newark that Sunday’s visit to the scene of her son’s death was a painful one.
“Obviously, it’s a symbol of great sadness for me and my family but it is also a symbol that we can have hope,” Jane Clementi said. “Just looking around and seeing all the support we have, that’s what everyone has. Everyone has that support. We have to just look to that and reach out to that.”