Victory for Chris

Do Something.org: – “…This past fall, students at the University of Michigan faced a disappointing reality. Sometimes the big bullies who shout names down the hallway or write hateful, hurtful comments on their victims’ Facebook walls don’t grow out of it—they only grow up to become even bigger bullies, making attacks from their corner offices. Chris Armstrong, the first openly gay student body president of the University of Michigan, was the victim of aggressive online attacks from Andrew Shrivell, the Assistant Attorney General of the state of Michigan last fall. In addition to repeatedly protesting Chris’s presidency in various locations around Ann Arbor, Shrivell made a website called “Chris Armstrong Watch” in which he accused Chris of maintaining a “radical homosexual agenda.” In his first post, he wrote “RESIGN” on a photo-shopped picture of Chris’s face next to a rainbow flag with a swastika in the center. In the first student government meeting after the attacks peaked, Chris addressed the bullying publicly. He said, “I will not back down. I will not flinch. I will not falter. I will not succumb to any unwarranted attacks. What I will do is I will carry on with the utmost pride and vindication.” Despite Chris’s strength in the face of a grown up bully, Shrivell continued his attacks on Chris for months—both online and in person. And since Michigan is one of only five states without anti-bullying laws, he was within his rights to free speech. Ultimately the website was shut down and Shrivell resigned from his position as Assistant Attorney General. This past Friday, Chris filed a lawsuit against Shrivell for stalking, invasion of privacy, and defamation. …” (READ MORE)

ABC News: – “…The “Chris Armstrong Watch” blog, created by former Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, 32, accused openly gay University of Michigan ex-student body president Christopher Armstrong of enticing minors with alcohol and recruiting people to become homosexual. The U.S. District Court jury Thursday awarded a $4.5 million civil settlement to Armstrong, 22, who said he suffered distress as a result of Shirvell’s actions. “I’m just incredibly humbled by what happened today,” Armstrong said Thursday. “This is truly a victory, not just for myself, but for a lot of other kids out there.” Michigan alum Shirvell blogged that Armstrong, who graduated in 2011, was “a radical homosexual activist, racist, elitist and liar…” – Kevin Dolak (READ MORE)

Michigan Daily: – “…Elected in a landslide victory last Friday, LGBT Commission Chair Chris Armstrong of MForward is now the first openly gay MSA president — a fact he said he hopes will have large implications not only for the LGBT community on campus, but also for the greater University community. Armstrong said he hopes that being gay and holding a position as assembly president will demonstrate that any University student can represent the “spirit of Michigan.” In an interview with The Michigan Daily yesterday, Armstrong recalled how he did not expect to ever be elected MSA president, after hiding his identity throughout high school and staying out of the public eye. He admitted that he only came out to a few friends and his parents by the end of his senior year in high school. Elected at the end of his freshman year to be a MSA representative, Armstrong said he was “impressed” by the other representatives and the atmosphere of the MSA Chambers, but never thought he was capable of holding such a leadership position as a gay man. Over the past three months of campaigning and forming MForward, Armstrong said he became even more sure of himself that he was ready to fulfill the role as president, despite his sexual identity….His work in bringing the Midwest LGBT Conference to campus next year came from his work with the Victory Fund – a national political action committee that trains LGBT leaders to hold political positions in the government and across the country. Victory Fund also helped Armstrong – who interned with the committee last summer – in his MSA campaign, he said. Armstrong cited that Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, another openly gay politician, also worked with Victory Fund. Armstrong said Pugh’s political success inspired him and proved that he could lead a similar role. …Javier said Armstrong is a great role model for every student who is struggling to find his or her identity. “It’s really great to have a role model like Chris out there who can show that it’s possible to be a student leader and be out and be successful as a gay person,” he said…” – Elyanna Twiggs (READ MORE)

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