Dr. Jeffrey Fishberger is the supervising psychiatrist at Samuels HIV Center in St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. He is also on the Board of Directors for The Trevor Project, where he helps to fight against suicide in the LGBTQ youth community. In 2009, Fishberger was featured in a New York Times blog post titled Bullied For Being Gay where he brought to light a sensitive topic that would dominate the attention of American families, Hollywood, and mass media over the next two years.
Whether or not Fishberger realized it at the time, the article would lead to a full-on movement against bullying in the gay community, with celebrities such as Madonna, Katy Perry, and Ellen Degeneres at the forefront of the cause. In May 2011, The Trevor Project released a video for “It Gets Better,” a campaign led by author/activist Dan Savage and Google Chrome encouraging empowerment among gay youth. The video was one of more than 10,000 user-generated uploads, included PSAs from President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Anne Hathaway, and Joe Jonas.
In a continued effort to bring awareness to bullying and suicide, Fishberger and his team have called on the retail community for support. The Trevor Project recently forged a national corporate partnership with home furniture company CB2, the hip and modern sister store to Crate and Barrel. They celebrated with a kick-off event at CB2 in Soho on June 16, complete with signature cocktails, interactive art, and a live DJ.
The evening was filled with great spirits, not only because bartenders kept apricot vodka cocktails and peach-elderflower Moet & Chandon mimosas flowing all night. But mainly because a group of young people had gathered to commemorate what seemed to be a natural pairing: a charity that advocates on behalf of the LGBTQ community, and a retailer that frequently serves and employs the same demographic.
“My associates asked how we could support Gay Pride Month, and we didn’t want to just do a float in a parade,” said Marta Calle, Director of CB2. “We wanted customer interaction. We wanted to do more with our contribution.” When Calle discovered The Trevor Project, she was taken by its commitment to fight against bullying. “That was such a thing that struck us,” she said.
The night’s serious theme didn’t put a damper on the guests’ moods. Instead, they mingled and enjoyed a steady pouring of appetizers, chocolate mousse desserts, and sugar-and-champagne loaded strawberries. Around the store, posters plastered with the message “Accept and Be” were on display (the posters are a collaboration between CB2 and Kennedy Prints! and will be on sale throughout Gay Pride Month for $19.95). Attendees also took to a whiteboard-turned-inspirational sounding board to serve up phrases like “All I know how to be is me,” and “All you need is love.” At the end of the night, guests left with mini-Polaroid keepsakes of themselves.
In addition to the kick-off event, CB2 donated $50,000 to the Trevor Project to help fund its suicide prevention hotline. On June 25th and 26th, CB2 will host a “weekend of charitable shopping,” with five percent of the proceeds from the company’s website, catalog, and retail sales benefiting The Trevor Project. Although the partnership will last one year, Calle says that CB2 – which currently has 11 charitable partnerships including The Trevor Project – hopes to extend the relationship for as long as there is a need.
“We are selective with our partnerships,” she said. “When we find an organization that we believe in, we hope to be partners forever.”