Teen bullying cases have gotten a lot of press lately. Adults, apparently oblivious for years to the harassment and physical violence perpetrated by young people on one another, have jumped on the bandwagon — producing everything from public service announcements to school lesson plans highlighting the dangers of bullying.
From the poor kid hanging from a fence by his jacket last year in Upper Darby, courtesy of his classmates; to the little old lady harangued to the point of tears on a school bus in Greece, N.Y., images of teens behaving badly have captured the spotlight — which is a good thing.
But one particularly damaging form of bullying is unique to the African-American community — and one; generally speaking, we’d rather not talk about.
It’s the “acting white,” or “not Black enough” charge — heard from Black children (and some adults) in neighborhoods all over America. Worst of all, it is used not to mock supposedly “white” speech patterns, music, or style of dress, but to decry intelligence itself.
Our kids have somehow been taught to believe that striving for academic excellence — studying, getting good grades, even the ability to speak, read and write the language — is the sole purview of white folks, and that if you’re Black and trying to better yourself through education, you’re certainly not cool — or even worse, a sellout.
Let’s not just gloss over this. Think about it for a minute. If intelligence is uncool, and getting good grades or speaking English without mumbling undecipherable gibberish is acting white, what then, is genuine Blackness?
What, I ask you, could be more pernicious, more insidious, more damaging to the minds and souls of Black kids than the notion that if they’re smart, they’re not really Black? What could hurt them worse, long term, than the idea that if they study hard and try to get ahead in school, they’re somehow a traitor to their race?
I can’t think of a single thing. And to see and hear this mindset manifest itself through the words and actions of our young people is truly heartbreaking.
Consider 18-year-old African-American Logan West of Connecticut, the newly crowned Miss Teen USA 2012. The cause she has decided to champion, because for some unknown reason beauty queens must always champion a cause, is bullying. And the reason she chose this cause? You guessed it. She was teased, mocked, harassed, beaten, and even stabbed with umbrellas from middle school through high school for “not acting her skin color.”
A few years ago I hosted a weekly radio talk show on WURD 900 AM. One week my co-hosts and I invited outstanding Black academic scholars from several Philly high schools on the program. These were the kids who did all the right things — worked hard, earned straight A’s and college scholarship opportunities, and volunteered in their communities.
They each told a sad, harrowing tale of having to hide their intelligence from their peers. They didn’t raise their hand in class to answer a question, pretended not to know the answer when called upon, and hid their report cards from their classmates. They told stories of the anger and hostility heaped upon them by their peers for simply being smart, and of the beatings and harassment they faced for “acting white” — as though intelligence and academic achievement are reserved for white folks.
I remember that show vividly, mostly for the sad resignation in the faces and the voices of those young people. I also remember it for the calls we got after they left. Some callers, more than a few, in fact — all but called the kids liars, denying that any such twisted mindset was pervasive among our young people.
I noticed the same thing when reading the comments section accompanying the Logan West story online — Black folk, supposedly reasonable adults, writing to say Black kids don’t act that way, and West probably made the whole bullying story up for media attention.
She didn’t — and its time to get our heads out of the sand. That level of denial is not helpful — in fact, denying the mindset’s existence is part of the reason it’s been allowed to flourish.
Education is not the enemy — it is the one sure way up and out of poverty. The ability to read, write and speak English is not the sole domain of the white man — it is how Black people ace the interview and get the job.
Whoever convinced our young people otherwise — now, that’s the enemy.
Daryl Gale is the Philadelphia Tribune's city editor.
Aaliyah Simmons, Tiani Fitts, Rayana Bradley and Jamar Simpson, all of West Oak Lane, as well as Rayaina Green, of Mount Airy, all have something in common. On the surface they are all 11-year-old fifth-graders at the Samuel W. Pennypacker School.
Yet as members of the Leader of the Pack club, they are all working to remove bullying from their school’s classrooms and corridors.
Rayana was recently in music class when two of her peers began arguing about a pencil. As one was more aggressive than the other, Bradley quickly remembered some of the conflict resolution techniques she learned in a Leader of the Pack session. Though it didn’t squelch the confrontation, the “I’m telling” rather than “no snitching” resolution technique learned through the club helped restore the classroom equilibrium.
“I’ve learned that bullies become bullies sometimes because of their homes,” said Rayana. “Sometimes they are bullied at home. So then they come to school and bully others. By learning about the different scenarios, and sometimes acting them, out it helps us to have good ideas about handling bullies.”
“What I’ve really learned is that bullies can put everyone in danger,” said Jamar. “Sometimes they are jealous of others. They may like getting others in trouble. At least when we tell, Mrs. Genaw (the counselor) will take care of it. That way no one is in danger.”
Rayaina, who has been at Pennypacker since she was in kindergarten, is pleased that there is now a no tolerance for bullying culture at the school. She credits the addition of Wendy Baldwin as principal for it.
“When you have a principal that changes things and makes sure that teachers help stop the bullying, that’s important,” Rayaina said.
Tiani agreed. She said that students have to feel safe that when they tell an adult in the school building that they are being bullied — that it will be addressed immediately.
“We know that if we tell Mr. (Austin) Wallace, the dean, that he is going to stop it,” she said. “This helps the children to open up and talk about it because that’s the only way to stop the bullying.”
Aaliyah added that is important to define bullying and show its ramifications. She readily admitted that before joining Leader of the Pack and attending weekly bullying education sessions at Pennypacker, she was not clear what bullying was.
“When you watch films about the effects and how some people have even committed suicide then you realize how serious it is,” she said.
“There are even some people who think that being a bully will make them more popular,” Simmons said. “I’ve learned that it is always wrong to bully. I’m glad they are (addressing) it at this school because it makes us feel safe.”
“I am the face of bullying, from preschooler, to teacher, to social worker, to single mother of three I am the face of bullying,” said Allison Taite about her experience with bullying.
Her statements and life story left some feeling sympathetic and others in a state of astonishment during the recent bullying symposium hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice’s Alumni Council.
The theme for the symposium, “Bullying Across the Lifespan: Targeting the Bully,” drew several hundred students, social workers and community members who were eager to learn more on this topic.
The symposium’s three-part agenda covered the context of bullying, deepening the understanding of the problem and strategies for making a difference.
Like many bullies, reoccurring stressors, frustrations and the need for attention ultimately led Taite to a place of acting out her anger by victimizing her childhood peers.
Fortunately, this period ended in her elementary school years because of consistency and caring attitudes from two of her former teachers.
“My teachers saw me as a hurting child, not a problem child,” Taite said. “That made all the difference for me. My first and second grade teachers had two different approaches. Neither teacher gave up on me.”
Later in life, Taite became the victim of cyber bullying through a very difficult divorce and co-parenting situation.
When asked what she would say to one of her victims today, Taite shared that she had already closed that chapter in her life.
“In middle school I was fortunate to address someone I bullied,” she said. “I happened to overhear this girl tell the story of how someone — and I was that someone she described — destroyed her teddy bear. I apologized to her. After so many years had passed, we were able to laugh about the experience.”
When asked to share her experience with bullying, Taite admits she was initially very apprehensive about being the bully.
“I cringed at the thought of people scowling at me and chastising me for my past poor decisions as an angry young child,” she said. “But people were very compassionate. They helped me understand that my story reinforced the need for bully prevention and intervention services at a very young age.”
During a session break, several attendees greeted Taite with a hug. Some shared how they thought her testimony was powerful and touching — others simply said thank you.
Lara McDavit shared her experience as a seventh-grade victim of bullying.
“I could never really defend myself beyond waking up in the morning,” she said.
Today, McDavit finds herself still shying away from any kind of confrontation.
“I feel uncomfortable with confrontational people and really avoid these situations and people,” she said.
The Black Writers Museum has kicked off a campaign designed to encourage youth to put down the weapons and pick up a pen.
The “Pick up the Pen” Bully and Violence Prevention Campaign provides youth with a life-saving alternative to the use of weapons and anti-social behavior.
“This is an historic day,” BWM Executive Director Supreme D. Dow said during the campaign launch held at the Happy Hallow Recreation Center in Germantown. “It’s an historic day when we have public institutions, private institutions and community institutions coming together to fight violence in schools and in our communities.”
The campaign’s goal is to provide youth with the opportunity to express themselves in writing as a means of dealing with the pressures of bullying, poverty, peer pressure, under-education, emotional and psychological trauma and stress.
The “Pick up the Pen” program will travel to schools and community-based institutions and utilize the “Writin’ Is Fighting” curriculum in creative writing workshops. During the workshops, youth will engage in discussion, listen to rap, R&B, poetry and interact with people in the music industry and the literary world. Participating youth will write compositions that reflect their view and understanding of the world in which they live.
Boxing great Bernard Hopkins will serve as the campaign’s bully prevention ambassador. Hopkins grew up in North Philadelphia and entered the penitentiary at age 17.
“I was a part of the problem, and now I’m a part of the solution. We are going to be making an attempt to reach some of the young people to change the way they’re going,” says Hopkins.
“I’m using me as a role model to say that you can change your ways. You can change how you think.”
City Councilwoman Cindy Bass was also on hand to express her support for the campaign.
Bass stressed the importance of ensuring that the youth have resources and opportunities. She views the campaign as a measure that could help stem the flow of African-American youth into the prison system.
“I’ve been up to Graterford [prison]. I’m sick of it,” said Bass. “When you look down those corridors and you see row after row of primarily African-American and Latino men — it’s sickening.”
“Pick up the Pen” will engage local and national celebrities to implement a social and electronic media component that will include a Web presence, radio and television public service announcements and community fliers and posters.
Social service agencies, religious and community institutions, the Philadelphia Department of Recreation, and other civic agencies will be engaged as campaign partners.
A rap competition is a key part of the new campaign. The rap competition, which runs now through August 29, is open to ninth through 12th-graders. Participating youth are asked to create a rap with an anti-bullying or anti-violence message. The rap cannot contain any profanity or sexually explicit lyrics. Contest winners will receive a $500 gift pack from sports apparel company Mitchell and Ness and professional recording studio time. Winners of the competition will be announced in September. Submissions can be sent to 4546 Pulaski Ave., Philadelphia, Pa., 19144.
The BWM is a cultural arts institution that utilizes exhibits of Black literature and its authors as a means of teaching youth literary and life skills.
Global retailer Sears is ramping up its efforts to curb bullying this coming school year, hoping to stem a violent trend that saw 13 million children throughout the country skip school — as many as 160,000 on any given school day — due to a fear of bullies.
“Team Up To Stop Bullying” is Sears’ multi-pronged initiative and action network, a “safe haven” for students, parents and educators to seek solutions to bullying.
Concerned parties can access “Team Up To Stop Bullying” online at www.sears.com/teamup.
“Team Up to Stop Bullying provides much-needed resources to parents, children, educators and communities — and will help Americans understand that bullying is a not a normal part of childhood,” said Team Up to Stop Bullying Managing Director Marie Newman, who is also a famed anti-bullying author. “Every seven minutes a child is bullied at school, and studies show that schools with an anti-bullying program see a decrease in bullying up to 50 percent. While there isn't one fix to every bullying problem, there are solutions and services that work. Now, for the first time, there is one simple place to connect to those solutions at sears.com/TeamUp.”
Sears has partnered with a nationwide, 55-member coalition to provide tips, research and other anti-bullying measures. Boys & Girls Clubs of America, anti-bullying book publisher Hazeldon, National PTA’s “Stand For Silent,” It Gets Better Project and End To Cyberbullying are just a few of the organizations to offer anti-bullying insights.
The website has easily-accessible content, broken down into broad sections for students and victims of bullying, families and educators; there is also a section dedicated to cyberbullying. Each section contains contacts to dozens of outlets and organizations that can help with a specific problem. Team Up To Stop Bullying also provides hotline and emergency support, along with online chat forums.
To support the cause, Sears will begin selling Team Up To Stop Bullying T-shirts at its stores for $9.99, and $3.75 of each sale will go toward DonorsChoose.org to fund The Bully Project’s “1 Million Kids” program. Sears is also sponsoring a “Super Back-To-School Saturday” anti-bullying themed sale; on Saturday, August 11. Shoppers can download a one-day only savings pass which is good for 15 percent off the total sale. Sears will donate up to $70,000 from that days’ sales to its coalition of anti-bullying organizations.
Team Up To Stop Bullying has also enlisted many popular entertainers to boost the program’s visibility. Marlo Thomas, the Kardashians, George Kotsiopoulos, Kyle Massey, Jennifer Veal, Bully movie director Lee Hirsch and others.
“When you’re on the front lines of bullying it’s hard to know where to turn to find immediate solutions,” said Lana Krauter, senior vice president and president of Sears Apparel. “Sears is proud to have created Team Up to Stop Bullying to help families and communities find solutions. We’ve built a tremendous coalition of partner organizations that, like Sears, raise their hand and say that children deserve to be protected and learn in safe environments.”
City Councilman James Kenney is one step closer to realizing his mission of screening “Bully” to middle-school students in the Philadelphia School District.
Now that the Motion Picture Alliance of America has lowered the film’s rating from “R” to “Unrated,” it allows the district to contemplate the screening. Toward that end, a group of administrators and teachers attended Monday’s night’s screening in order to form their own opinions on the value of the movie.
“There are 50 seats the district will take advantage of, and administrators, counselors and teachers will see it first. Then we will see what they have to say,” said district spokesman Fernando Gallard, noting that this is the first time district officials have formally screened the film, and there will be at least one more screening for district officials before any decisions can be made. “There is a lot of interest in the movie, and after we’ve seen it, we’ll take the next step.”
The controversial film, created by the Weinstein Company and recently opened nationwide, follows the lives of several bullies, their victims and involved families for an entire academic year, bringing into stark contrast not only the damage bullies inflict, but the on the causes and effects of nefarious activity.
The MPAA takes the ratings process seriously, and wouldn’t have changed it had the filmmakers not altered the film; but when the Weinstein Company released an edited version of the film, the MPAA decided to review the film.
“Per the standard rating process available to all filmmakers, The Weinstein Company decided to resubmit a new, edited version of Bully to be rated, and the ratings board gave this new version of the film a PG-13 rating for intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language – all involving kids,” said Joan Graves, chairwoman of the Classification and Ratings Administration. “In the case of ‘Bully,’ the ratings system has worked exactly as it is supposed to: parents have been kept informed of the content of each version of the film, and they have been given the information they need to make movie-going decisions on behalf of their kids.”
Kenney, an At-Large Councilman, has been a proponent of screening the film for area students, and has embarked on a relentless campaign to both convince the MPAA to lower the film’s rating, and get the school district to screen it. Concurrently, Kenney has also raised considerable funds to cover the tickets and transportation for the students, should the district allow it. And although pleased with the MPAA’s reversal, Kenney knows there’s still more to do.
“Well, we are continuing to raise money to get as many kids and administrators to the theatre, and we are working with [Safe Schools Advocate] Kelly Hodge and [School Reform Commission Chairman] Pedro Ramos to get everything necessary” for the potential green-light from the district, Kenney said. “I am very optimistic, but we need to continue our efforts to affect as many people as possible with this movie.”
Getting the ratings change is just one of the tumblers that had to fall in place to make this screening a reality, officials said. “Bully” is a commercial release, meaning students would have to get bussed to the theatre and pay for tickets. Part of the decision includes whether or not to make students and their families bear the financial burden of the trip, or if the district will absorb the hit.
Kenney has raised more than $10,000 so far to help with the logistics, so if the district does take a hit, it won’t be a deal-breaking one.
“Councilman Kenney has been very helpful,” Gallard said. “Now we are looking for the best way to take advantage of the great offer and support the councilman has given us.”
Samuel W. Pennypacker School has taken a no tolerance for bullying stance.
Counselor Joan Genaw and dean Austin Wallace are quick to point out that they have the backs of the students who are bullied as well as those who report bullying directed at them or other students. To this end, the school has “No Bully Zone” signs lining its hallways.
Genaw said that bullying had escalated at the school during the fall. By November, the school became part of the Oleeus Bullying Program to address it. All faculty, staff and students are involved in weekly sessions to bring to attention what bullying is.
“It’s really important to define bullying,” Genaw said. “Sometimes people will think that it’s just teasing without realizing that most of what we call teasing is bullying. Once the students understand what bullying is, they can look for the signs of it.
“They then engage in peer mediation. The fifth- and sixth-graders are trained in ways to resolve conflicts. This helps students to reduce the bullying and support the students who are bullying. We also (are committed) to addressing the bullying once it is reported,” Genaw said.
Wallace directly attributes the increased bullying at the beginning of the school year to social media. He said that as younger students are getting on Facebook and Twitter, they are actually cyberbullying. This, he said, is often worse than the old fashioned face-to-face bullying.
“For one thing it extends the bullying beyond the school day,” said Wallace. “With social media they can carry it on for hours after they leave school. That in itself escalates it. So, social media is definitely a catalyst with more students having cell phones and being online. Now they can bully for hours at a time.”
To this end, Wallace said that while the school can do its part, parents also play a role in ending bullying. He said that parents “must become partners” with the school by modeling what it means to be “productive citizen.” This may involve monitoring their child’s social media interactions or even banning them from it if they are the bullies. Parents, too, may have to look at their own social media behaviors.
“I think sometimes parents underestimate the voice they can have in their child’s life,” Wallace said. “I believe that as we at the Philadelphia School District address this problem; parents can also do the same. It might be something as simple as playing basketball with them and turning it into a math lesson or walking through the neighborhood and make it a science lesson.
“The important thing is interacting with your child. The message I want to tell parents is to not only monitor your child but also never underestimate the effect of positive attention. That plays a bit part in addressing this,” Wallace said.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and officials with the Cartoon Network have joined forces to stop bullying with Casey’s resubmission of federal legislation to prevent the hurtful tactic and the announcement of the network’s anti-bullying programming.
The group visited Warren G. Harding Middle School last week, as the network explained the merits of its nationwide “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” campaign, which includes convincing victims and bystanders to inform teachers, parents and other adult stakeholders of the bullying. Cartoon Network will buttress this initiative through broadcast programming and social media outlets. The anti-bullying campaign also boasts interactive flags that can be downloaded from www.StopBullyingSpeakUp.com.
“We’re very proud this year to join forces with Senator Casey in the national effort to help bring an end to bullying,” said Cartoon Network President and COO Stuart Snyder. “We’ve visited other schools and cities to build awareness and enlist support for the Stop Bullying: Speak Up mission, and have been greatly encouraged by the overwhelming response students, teachers and parents have shown once they realize there are proven tactics and methods that can help bring a quick end to bullying situations.
“We hope wherever the Stop Bullying: Speak Up flag might appear, young people will understand that this is a safe place where bullying behaviors will not be tolerated.”
Cartoon Network’s “Level Up” stars Connor del Rio and Aimee Carrero also made a special live appearance, encouraging students to take the pledge and raise the flag to stop bullying. They presented two new public service announcements that have started airing on Cartoon Network, featuring the two actors and other cast members from Level Up encouraging viewers to speak up against bullying in schools and communities.
According to the Cartoon Network, the Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign was launched in 2010 as a direct response to the concerns of the network’s core audience. Young people said that bullying was among the biggest problems they faced, but one where they believed they could make a difference. Cartoon Network mobilized and recruited experts in bullying prevention from academia, government, and community-based organizations to create the Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign.
Casey, long a supporter of anti-bullying measures, has introduced the comprehensive Safe Schools Improvement Act, which, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities would establish a federal definition of bullying to protect all students nationwide.
“The SSIA would call on schools and districts that receive federal funds to adopt anti-bullying policies and codes of conduct that specifically prohibit bullying or harassment on the basis of disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation and perceived or actual gender identity. The bill would also create stricter and more uniform policies for dealing with and preventing all forms of bullying, not just ones tied to a specific characteristic,” read an explanatory note from the NCLD. “Crucially, the Act would also mandate that states catalog and report data on bullying and harassment to the Department of Education”
On the occasion of addressing the more than 400 students attending the announcement, Casey vowed to push through the legislation that has the potential of improving their school’s ambiance.
“Bullying and harassment affect millions of students every year, so I am re-introducing the Safe Schools Improvement Act to help ensure that every child receives a quality education that builds self-confidence,” Casey said. “This bill is a crucial step toward ensuring that no child is afraid to go to school for fear of bullying. I appreciate Cartoon Network’s efforts to shine light on this important issue.”
Bullying and the overall safety of Philadelphia public schools were issues recently tackled by two independent organizations, as the United States Department of Education and national security provider ASIS International respectively issued anti-bullying techniques, and a check, to help improve school security.
ASIS International, which will host its 58th annual seminar and exhibits convention here from September 10 through 13, will donate $20,000 to the School District of Philadelphia to cover the expense of new security measures, including better closed-circuit surveillance and improved security communications.
ASIS will also partner with the district to create a series of anti-violence programs for both teachers and students. ASIS will also continue to support the “Safe and Secure Online Program,” a free public service that puts cyber-bullying security experts in classrooms, while also confronting the issue online through online identity and online reputation protection measures.
The education department, looking to continue a nationwide anti-bullying agenda that became major news due to the release of the moving documentaries “Bully” and “The Bullycide Project,” has established five methods which parents, caregivers and school officials can use to curb bullying.
The recommendations — establishing lines of communication and talking about school for at least 15 minutes per day, making sure kids know safe ways to be more than a bystander, knowing the state and school’s anti-bully policy, supporting victims of bullying and taking an active role in anti-bullying initiatives — may seem like common knowledge, until the warning signs and, later, the effects of bullying appear.
The Department of Education has also created a website — www.StopBullying.gov — to help address the issue, which goes into detail about telltale warning signs of someone being bullied: depression, anxiety, changes in sleep patterns, various health complaints and a decrease in test scores are all red flags.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan referenced bullying and support of at-risk students during the recently-completed second annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit, where he said that “bullying is something no child should face,” and referenced several cases of bullying that led their victims to commit suicide.
“Children are bullied for many different reasons — for their race or national origin, for having a disability, actual or perceived sexual orientation, for how they look, or who they date or are friends with, for how they perform in school or on the athletic field, or for how they speak,” said Duncan, who noted that kids aren’t just bullied at school, but online and through social media outlets. “Last year, when my team at the Department convened this summit, little did we know that soon after, national attention would turn dramatically to this issue. Just weeks later, Tyler Clementi succumbed to the outrageous behavior of people he trusted. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of his suicide — and tragically, Tyler’s death isn’t the only one. Last fall, several other young people took their lives after being bullied or harassed.
“Another study found that students who are chronically rejected and mistreated by peers in elementary school are more likely to perform poorly in academics, and to ultimately avoid school altogether,” Duncan continued. “Ian Rivers’ research on students’ mental health shows that students who witness bullying are more likely to use tobacco or alcohol, to be depressed, and to miss or skip school.”
The Stop Bullying website was careful to point out that while bullying isn’t the only mitigating factor of suicides, it provides the avenue for a negative psyche to develop in an at-risk youth.
“Although kids who are bullied are at risk of suicide, bullying alone is not the cause. Many issues contribute to suicide risk, including depression, problems at home and trauma history. Additionally, specific groups have an increased risk of suicide, including American Indian and Alaskan Native, Asian American, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth,” reads an explanatory note on the stop bullying website. “This risk can be increased further when these kids are not supported by parents, peers and schools. Bullying can make an unsupportive situation worse.”
Teaching students about the dangers of bullying is continuing in Northwest Philadelphia during the summer months.
First, the Northwest CommUnity Coalition on Youth (NCCY) is hosting its first Basketball Challenge “Hoops Against Bullying” at the Imhotep Institute Charter High School, 6201 N. 21 St. from July 19 to 21. These games are free and open to the public.
The challenge will feature students from ages 8 to 17. They represent many local leagues and even those from out of town.
Thursday will be the kick-off event. Game times on Friday are10 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be games on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“The youth will use the game of basketball competitively and respectfully, using skill and expertise rather than intimidation or harassment to win,” said Troy Allen, the chairperson of NCCY “Hoops Against Bullying.” In addition, there will be college tours and a mini basketball clinic offered by NCCY.
The mission of “Hoops Against Bullying” is four-fold. It involves respect, sportsmanship, team work, and leadership. Organizers stress that these are the key characteristics to building character and confidence—the qualities that counteract bullying behaviors.
“As we all know the element of bullying has permeated our schools and many other places where young people are gathered,” said Isabella Fitzgerald, NCCY chairperson. “We hope that through this effort we can show that even though playing to win, respecting others and good sportsmanship is paramount.
“By providing tools and resources we can help strengthen the most powerful entity in our communities, our children. By providing tools and resources we can help strengthen the most powerful resource in the children’s lives, their parents,” Fitzgerald said.
Over in Germantown youngsters are also engaging in the “Pick up the Pen” effort to offset violence and bullying this summer. The sessions will take place at the Happy Hollow Playground. It is hosted by the Black Writers Museum and being sponsored by the Make a Way Foundation and the Mitchell and Ness Nostalgia Company.
“When someone is bullying they are taking advantage because they are either bigger or have something over the other person,” said Bernard Hopkins, the program’s ambassador. “Instead of picking up their fists or [a weapon] we want them to pick up the pen and express themselves that way.”
The program will run throughout the summer with a culminating ceremony in late August, according to Supreme Dow, executive director of the Black Writers Museum. For more information about the program call (267)297-3078 or visit blackwritersmuseum.clear.net.
NCCY is a nonprofit organization formed in 2004. It is sponsored by Safe Corridors, the No Bullying Zone Hotline, School/Merchants Truancy Institute, and Address Safety. For more information visit www.nccy.org.