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Spirit Day: Please Wear Purple To Help Take Stand Against Bullying Of LGBTQ Youth

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Thursday is Spirit Day.

CBS2 is proud to join millions of people wearing purple to take a stand against bullying in support of LGBTQ youth.

Many on Thursday went online to share encouraging messages. Actors from the show "Star Trek: Discovery" talked about the importance of the show's diversity.

"Having LGBTQ representation on shows like 'Star Trek' is important because we're dealing with the future," actor Wilson Cruz said.

"And young people need to see that people in the future will be celebrated and allowed to be themselves, no matter what their story is," actor Anthony Rapp said.

Levka Starkova is 16 years old and works with CPC Project Reach, a local program that helps LGBTQ youth through education and creating a safe space.

Levka identifies as non-binary, neither male nor female, and says it's important for everyone to educate themselves.

"Go online, look up some vocabulary, look up some terms, but also try to, I would suggest to listen to people in the LGBTQ community to hear their voice," Levka told CBS2's Cindy Hsu.

Spirit Day started 10 years ago when a number of young, gay students died by suicide after being bullied.

According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 7 out of 10 LGBTQ students experience harassment while at school and more than half of them report feeling unsafe.

Spirit Day is now a day to show support and learn about the community. The teenager who started the event says she hopes it helps just one person feel better about themselves and feel safe enough to be proud of who they are.

Seventeen-year-old Andre England is also with Project Reach and says the pandemic has made things harder on many in the community because of the isolation.

He says on Spirit Day -- and every day -- there are lots of people and organizations that can help.

"There will always be people to support you, and just keep moving forward, please," Andre said.

And know you have a whole community to be a part of.

If you'd like to take the pledge, you can get more information here.

You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.

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