Five years ago on this day, in a moment of unrelenting hopelessness and absolute desperation, a young George Kazanjian made a decision that ultimately had a far reaching impact on the lives of the many people who were most close to him and to the strangers he would never meet.
Today marks the five year anniversary of the tragic passing of our beloved George Kazanjian. The Silver Lining Foundation (SLF) would like to extend our sincere condolences to the friends and family, especially to George’s mum, Katherine Kazanjian on this very difficult day.
It is true none of us knows what was going through George’s mind in the moments that led him to make the decision he ultimately took but what remains meaningful for so many of us is the engulfing loneliness, stark darkness and overshadowing hopelessness George must have felt that led him to take his life. It’s a feeling that is all too familiar to anyone who has ever been ostracized, alienated and bullied because of his/her sexuality or gender expression.
The truth of the matter is that George’s story could very well have been any one of ours who has ever had to endure such merciless attacks and suffered through the painful loneliness that it no doubt elicits. Apart from keeping George’ memory alive, it was SLF’s hope that through the championing for education, support and advocacy for youths struggling with their sexuality and gender expression we could hopefully open minds and in the process change the ending to these stories.
Since then we have come to realize that the road to success is littered with bumps and unforeseen detours that may take the aimless wanderer through unchartered territory. With hard work, an unwavering drive and strong passion, SLF continues to soldier through the sleepless nights, major hurdles and endless struggles as we continue to chart our pathway through the pitfalls and successes that provide a renewed sense of meaning and hope to what we do and why we do it.
As the SLF family takes a moment to pause and reflect on the life that was sadly snatched away from us on this day, we are bolstered by the immeasurable support we have received through the many lives George’s lasting legacy has touched. Through the foundation’s work we have been able to keep George’s struggles alive as a lesson tool that speaks to what happens when hate, bigotry and bullying goes unchecked.
We remain committed and resolved in our steadfast determination to ensure that no child facing similar challenges must do so in insufferable silence and loneliness. Throughout the pain and hopelessness we hope our work through George’s memory can shed a silver lining to every taunt, every slur and every attack so that the ending to these stories can be changed from tragedy to triumph. We do this in honour of our beloved George!
April 19th, 1995 – September 13th, 2011