Coming up this week, on February 27, 2013, is Anti-bullying day, where we can all take a stand, show our support and Acceptance for everyone in our schools, community, neighbourhood and life! This day is about ACCEPTANCE, and to be who we are, without fear of being judged, bullied, picked on, or excluded. No one should be bullied by anyone, and they should be accepted as they are, as our Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects us, here in Canada.
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Back in 2007, in Nova Scotia, a Grade 9 boy wore a pink shirt to school one day. He was ridiculed, harassed, called names, and bullied by other students at the school. They called him a homosexual, and they made his life very difficult and completely unfair. This sparked a response from other students in the school, who rallied around this boy, all coming to school the next day wearing Pink Shirts in solidarity. It does not matter what race, gender, sexual orientation, how you look, talk, or act is, it matters who you are, and who you Accept in your life! We should Accept everyone as they are, and to demonstrate this Acceptance and inclusion, many schools in Vancouver, BC, gathered together recently to create a Flash Mob to show the emotion and power of a large group of passionate people working together to promote Acceptance!
This video highlights that when we all come together, we can make massive changes in the way we treat each other. We can Accept people as they are, and treat them with respect, caring, and friendship. We don’t need to judge or put others down to make ourselves feel better. We can commit to making others feel better by sharing stories of good people, helping others, caring for each other and to include people in our communities, groups and classes.
This lesson and movement is especially important online! Using social media allows us to connect with ever wider groups and communities online. It allows us to reach out, and to share with the whole world if we want to. We need to claim this online space to make sure it is safe and Accepting as well! We need to commit to making our online tools and communities more friendly, accepting and free of bullying. We need to demonstrate positive interactions, telling people nice things, ignoring mean people and mean things online. Call out bullying when you see it. Don’t stand by, letting the bully ruin someone else’s life. Stand up where and when you see any bullying and fight it with caring, positive and friendly advice. IF we ALL do our PART, bullying could be stopped forever!
Finally, I recommend you watch a very powerful Poem, To This Day Project - by Shane Koyczan a poem about the impacts and struggles that everyone who’s ever been bullied can go through. This powerful story will tell you why it is so much more hurtful and harmful than you can ever imagine.
So, this year, on this day, Feb 27th, 2013, PLEASE COMMIT to changing the way you interact with everyone in your life, online or not. Tell people nice things. Include people in what you’re doing. Call out bullying and reach a hand out to those you see getting bullied. Put on your Pink Shirt and begin ACCEPTING everyone in your life for who they are. It’s the right thing to do!