PHOTOS & VID: GLAAD and NASDAQ start new day for LGBT youth

GLAAD staff members arrived at the NASDAQ Friday morning, a culmination of Spirit Day, to open the market, bringing national visibility to anti-LGBT bullying.

Zeke Stokes, GLAAD's Vice President of Programs, spoke to the crowd just before ringing the bell:

Good morning. 

How appropriate it is that we conclude this 24 hours of standing up for LGBT youth - Spirit Day 2014 - not at the end of a day, but at the beginning of a new one.

And how appropriate still, that we do it here at NASDAQ, a place that stands for progress, prosperity, and the promise of a better tomororrow. 

It's that promise that we work to make a reality every day through our programs at GLAAD.  And it's that promise that can be so life affirming - and indeed life saving - for the 8 out of ten LGBT kids who report being bullied before they reach adulthood. 

In the last 24 hours, the world has gone purple with GLAAD to stand up for them.  From the United Nations to the United State Congress, public officials have said we cannot tolerate bullying.  Emmy winning actress Laverne Cox joined us at the Empire State Building to light it purple in a show of solidarity.  Musicians like Demi Lovato, Ricky Martin, and countless others stood up.  And millions of Americans and people around the world wore purple and turned their social media channels purple with us.

But we can't stop.  We can't stop until every kid can go to school without fear - until every LGBT couple can hold hands anywhere in the world without retribution - until every LGBT family can live in the community they love with neighbors who dont raise an eyebrow or utter an unkind word.

So on behalf of our presenting sponsors of Spirit Day, PepsiCo and Wells Fargo, our President and CEO Sarak Kate Ellis, the GLAAD board of directors, our staff, and millions of LGBT youth and adults who need our voice, lets get this new day started. 

Thank you.

All images © 2014, NASDAQ, Inc.

Spirit Day, which took place on October 16th, inspires millions to wear purple or "go purple" online in a united stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBT youth. Each year, Spirit Day draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals. Spirit Day is made possible by the generous support of its national partners PepsiCo and Wells Fargo, as well as official partners Comcast-NBCUniversal and Google, and supporting partner American Eagle Outfitters. 

 Check out glaad.org/spiritday for more about how to stand against anti-LGBT bullying and follow @GLAAD on Twitter to keep up to date with #spiritday news!​