By Leilani Clark
"I want to break the silence for Maria Carrillo High School," declared Kayla Kearney, halfway through her eight-minute speech at an assembly honoring Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 14 at the Santa Rosa-area high school. "I want to stand up here and talk about this because no one ever does."
With 207, 643 views on YouTube as of this week, a video of Kearney's speech has grown into a true internet sensation, reposted on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook quicker than you can yelp Justin Bieber. Kearny's eloquent poise covers the rash of teen suicides over the past year by kids who had been pressured, bullied and tormented for being gay, and how these incidents inspired Kearny to come out as a lesbian in front of her entire school.
As she paces the stage in a white-button down oxford and jeans, Kearney explains how she finally came to terms with her feelings toward other girls after participating in a performance of Rent at the Sixth Street Playhouse this past summer. "I was in a place where I knew I could accept myself. Where I could be accepted. Where I was liberated," says Kearney, who recited the speech six times on that Friday to students and once more during an evening assembly for parents.
Kidsofqueers.com has called Kearney "courageous beyond belief" for the speech, but Kearney herself reminds us that it is simple rights that she's looking for—rights that begin with telling the truth and not looking back. Google "High School Senior Comes Out YouTube" to watch the speech.
February is Dental Health Month—news to us!—meaning it's time to stop being a "social flosser" and start getting serious about teeth. It's also an excellent occasion to schedule that long-delayed tooth cleaning. What about those who have no dental insurance and no money? Check out the free dental emergency days offered up midmonth by Dr. Andy McCormick, D.D.S. McCormick will provide anyone who has a dental emergency or is simply in need of a teeth cleaning free treatment on a first-come, first-serve basis.
According to business manager Lisa McCormick, the free treatment is a way to give back to the community during a difficult economy. Get 'em pearly white on Feb. 5 and Feb. 19 at Dr. McCormick's office. 855 Fountaingrove Parkway, Santa Rosa. 9am-3pm. Free. 707.579.9993.
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