Caleb Laieski, a 17-year-old teen who made headlines more than a year ago for being bullied, is now the youngest advocate on loan in the Phoenix Mayor’s Office and should get huge props for turning his situation into a positive one for himself and many others.
Laieski, 17, as a youth and diversity liaison, will work to raise awareness about bullying and diversity and serve as a point of contact for youth issues.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to work for one of the largest cities in our nation, and I look forward to continue making Phoenix a safer place for our entire community,” Laieski said. “Being a youth myself, I feel that this opportunity will allow me to bring a young person’s perspective to the administration. During my time in this office, I will strive to see the dropout rate lower, intervention by school administrations steadily increase and the suicide rate rapidly decline.”
Laieski, a former high school student, said he endured anti-gay bullying on a daily basis, which included being followed home by other students and threatened for being gay. Laieski said felt he had no other choice but to leave his school and pursue his GED.
Among Laieski's accomplishments are founding the organization Gays and Lesbians United Against Discrimination; Successfully petitioning his former high school district to add sexual orientation to their list of protections; Testifying his support for the Arizona Safe Schools Act and SB 1462, an anti-bullying bill; Meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden to ask them to appoint an adviser on LGBT Youth Issues; Being named Echo magazine’s Man of the Year in 2011..
Said Mayor Stanton: “I’m excited to have someone as talented as Caleb working in my office because I know he truly cares about our community, our city and our youth. I want Phoenix youth to have a voice in my office. I also want our students to be able to concentrate on their education for future success, not be bullied. All our kids deserve to live their lives, no matter who they are, because diversity is a strength in Phoenix.”
Watch an interview from June 2010 when Laieski was taking action against his high school in Arizona, AFTER THE JUMP...