Denver East H.S. athletes make video taking stand against bullying
East H.S. athletes make anti-bullying video
DENVER — Colorado high school athletes are gaining national attention, but not for their play on the field. They are taking a stand against bullying and homophobia.
As a high school gymnast, Hayley Owens is used to looking to her teammates for support, but now she and some of her fellow student athletes at Denver East High School are lending support of their own to athletes of all backgrounds.
Denver East recorded the first video for You Can Play Colorado! It’s a partnership between the Colorado High School Activities Association and the You Can Play Project, which aims to foster acceptance in sports by bringing together gay athletes and straight allies.
“It was really fun,” Owens said. “It’s just really inspiring that we’re finally supporting students that are gay or lesbian, so that they can play sports without getting bullied or harassed.”
It’s a message that’s not stopping with Denver East. The CHSAA is leading a statewide video contest, encouraging schools and athletes to make their own You Can Play videos.
“What we’re really doing is doing something that impacts all kids,” said Bert Bergmann, Assistant Commissioner of the CHSAA. “Not maybe just the athletes and the activities participants that we deal with on a daily basis, but the potential is to have a major impact on all kids in the schools.”
The Denver East video has already generated national attention and thousands of views online.
“I think that has more of an impact than a bunch of 45-year-old adults up there preaching to them,” said Virginia Smith, who’s granddaughter is a gymnast at Denver East.
It’s a message that’s already catching on in other schools as well.
“I think it’s a great message to send,” said Kelsey Moran, a gymnast for Pueblo Central. “I don’t see how who you are and what your sexual orientation is affects how you play a sport. That’s what we’re all here to do.”
Moran says it’s only a matter of time before other teams and schools get involved.
“I think it would be cool to be part of,” Moran said.
The “You Can Play Colorado!” video contest begins on November 8th. For more information click here.