Every day, I see new distressing videos on Facebook showing people engaging in acts of bullying, racism, and discrimination. Everyone says, "Isn't this awful?" or "Isn't this terrible?" YES, yes it is. So let's do something about it. Instead of standing there watching someone be humiliated and harassed, we can teach bystanders how to walk over to the target and offer support.
- If you feel safe enough to support the person on your own, walk over and say, "I'm here with you. It's okay. You don't deserve to be treated like this."
- If you do not feel safe on your own, gather some allies and help move the person to a safe location. Or make note of what is happening and act as a witness and ally when the target reports what happened.
- If the cruelty is happening online, disengage with the bullies. They want attention. Instead of flooding the wall of the bullies with messages of hate, go flood the wall of the target with messages of support. Give the attention to the target and take it away from the aggressor.
- Remind yourself that all it takes is for one person to speak up against bullying, and others will start to follow. #BeKind.
My colleague, Chase Masterson, and I founded The Pop Culture Hero Coalition in 2013, not knowing how poignant our mission would become as we start 2017. The Coalition is a not-for-profit organization that works to teach people how to act as heroes over bullying, misogyny, homophobia, and hate.
Even the youngest children can learn how to stand up for someone who is being targeted:
What can you do to help us? Wear one of our #BeKind shirts and spread a message of compassion. We are delighted to partner with the Heughligans, an amazing fan group of Sam Heughan, star of the Starz Original Series, Outlanders, to bring you these awesome BeKind T-shirts:
The proceeds of each shirt you buy will go to support our anti-bullying work at schools and pop culture conventions. Please consider purchasing a Be Kind shirt this holiday season and help us create a better world for our kids!
Thank you to the heroic Heughligans and to the many Star Trek actors and actresses who are supporting this campaign!