Queer Heroes NW is an annual project of Q Center and the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific NW (GLAPN) that recognizes local people who have made a significant difference in the LGBTQ community in the Pacific NW. The heroes are selected by a committee from community nominations. Each day in June (Pride month), one hero is revealed online. An exhibit featuring all of the heroes is on display at Q Center’s Aaron Hall Gallery, as well as at Pride booths across Oregon and SW Washington.
We’ll be sharing these heroes stories on our site throughout the month.
The Bell family of LaGrande, Oregon, faced challenges in 2013 that most people can’t even imagine.
Jadin Bell, who was dealing with bullying at his local high school, hanged himself on the school playground on January 19, and died on February 3 after he was taken off of life support.
Determined to make something good from the experience, the family founded Faces For Change, a non-profit organization set up to combat bullying in the four counties of northeastern Oregon; and Jadin’s father, Joe Bell set off to walk across the USA, speaking about bullying to community groups along the way.
In April, 2013, members of the Bell Family visited the Shepherd Scholars’ Class Act fundraiser, where a special offering jump-started the Faces for Change account at Equity Foundation.
On October 9, 2013, Joe Bell’s walk was cut short when he was hit by a truck as he walked along a highway in eastern Colorado. Joe died beside the road, and the driver was cited for negligence.
In April, 2014, members of the Bell Family once again stood before the audience at the Shepherd Scholars Class Act fundraiser, where they announced the granting of the first Faces for Change scholarship.
From FacesForChange.com: “It is our intent to honor Jadin’s memory with a legacy of proactive service. Suicide is a complex social pathology that is seldom (if ever) about just one thing. Often the difference between life and tragic death is someone who cares enough about any aspect to move the needle. If anything matters, everything matters. Let it start today, let it start with me …”
Read more about the Jadin and Joe’s legacy here.
Q Center and GLAPN will hold a reception honoring these queer heroes at Q Center, June 12, from 5 to 7 p.m.