The parents of Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14 year old who committed suicide after years of being bullied, spoke at Syracuse's All Saints Catholic Church on Sunday afternoon.
Although they've spoken about their son before, Tim and Tracey Rodemeyer still had to fight back tears when addressing those in attendance. They spoke of the message their son tried to convey, a message that he himself struggled to live by. They said he wanted everyone to know that they were equals, and now that they've lived through his tragedy they have their own message to add to his.
"We just want everyone to know that they're here for a purpose and that they're never alone," Tim Rodemeyer said.
With that focus in mind, the Rodemeyers spoke on how important it is for those in need to reach out for help in any situation, and that most of the time people hide it deep within themselves.
"We don't want it to get swept under the rug," Tracey Rodemeyer said. "People take care when they have physical issues to go to the doctor and have no problem telling the doctor about it. People are so afraid when it comes to mental issues, they have to realize it's ok to talk about."
The Rodemeyers are trying to spread that it's ok to talk about issues mentally, and although they are from Buffalo, they have no problem traveling to a place like Syracuse to speak and try to help others. All Saints parishoners, like Michelle Mosca-Wells, have been hoping something like this would be brought up in their church for awhile, and feel that the Rodemeyer's are making a big difference.
"The Rodemeyers are doing a tremendous service," Mosca-Wells said. "Not only for the gay community, but for the Catholic community as well."
For the Rodemeyers, it's not just an issue in New York or even the United States, but something worldwide that they're hoping they can help spread awareness for.
"Our mission is threefold," Tracey Rodemeyer said. "It's suicide prevention, bully prevention, and youth empowerment. So, these kids have to realize that they're in charge of their destiny and they need to make a stand for themselves and have a healthy hand in their own lives."