July 6, 2018 at 1:43 pm EDT | by Cristian Galicia
Sergio Urrego lives on

Alba Reyes speaks to a crowd at a concert in Bogotá, Colombia, on July 1, 2018, that was held in honor of her son, Sergio Urrego, who took his own life in 2014 after administrators of the high school he attended targeted him after a teacher saw a picture of him kissing his boyfriend. (Photo courtesy of Fundación Sergio Urrego)

It has been almost four years since Colombia was plunged in indignation and deep sorrow after young Sergio Urrego died by suicide. This mournful event shocked the whole country so much that Sergio today is an unapologetic symbol of liberty; his mother is an example of extraordinary resilience and both are another reason to keep fighting for everyone’s rights.

Sergio’s life withered away after being systematically discriminated by his school’s principals and psychologist. He had to drop out of everything he loved to do: Fighting for a libertarian teaching and for a more comprehensive and welcoming society. He had to stop reading, learning, writing and loving. He was forced to diminish himself because everyone was uncomfortable with his view towards life: The eternal pursuit of liberty to love anyone he wanted to.

He made everyone in the country think about the power that hatred had been given, so much that it even mercilessly put a little child’s life at a stake. That was why many people would go out to march in the streets and demand justice and the guarantee to be able to live being whoever they wanted to be or love.

This claim grew up through the years and thrived as much as the indefatigable desire to live in a country where they were not treated like second-class citizens and able to live with equality. Sergio emboldened many people to speak up when others are unable, made invisible or are being denied their existence. And this has become a whole inspiring legacy.

Those who lived hidden, who felt feeble, have overcome obstacles and found the grit to reaffirm who they are with those who disagree with them, and have even encouraged others to celebrate their lives freely.

This has become a vocal movement against disregard, an “anarchist” movement to defy the slanted people who want to back down, and who claim to know who must be granted the rights to.

Every single year in Pride month and in the pride of Colombia; Sergio’s name is heard, remembered and called out in unison as his death represents the resistance to fight for love.

Beforehand this would have never happened if Alba Reyes, Sergio’s mother wouldn’t have turned the biggest pain of her life into her life’s work (the Sergio Urrego Foundation) where she fights for children and youth to live safe lives that are full of acceptance and free of discrimination. Alba has fostered the need for everyone to ponder about the safety and inclusion in the country’s schools.

Sergio’s life lives on through the stirring fight for equality of his mom. Sergio is now a synonym of liberty for everyone who looks forward to living fearlessly.

Cristian Galicia is a social communicator and journalist, freelance writer, social media manager, photojournalist and interpreter with an emphasis on literary and cultural journalism. He has actively worked in organizations that serve vulnerable populations, such as LGBTIQ people and those with cognitive disabilities in Colombia.
Cristian can be reached at c.96@hotmail.com or at Cristian_fy on Instagram and Twitter.

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