A couple of years ago, the Humanity Project held a 4th of July fundraiser. We called it, “Freedom from Bullying.” Some of our good members and friends showed up at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida hotspot for live entertainment from the Jazz Survivors and other fun. But we had a serious mission that night — to help us help others to stop school bullying. The Humanity Project is more than only an anti-bullying group, of course. But our all-original, innovative Anti-bullying Through The Arts is among our signature programs, one of many efforts at using cooperation and social connection to improve our communities. As we approach another July 4th, I was thinking about that phrase we used for our fundraiser, “freedom from bullying.” That’s what our schools need now, isn’t it? They must be free of bullying in an age of hurtful Facebook and Twitter pages, at a time when weapons are sometimes in the schools and too many teens decide the only way out is suicide. To the Humanity Project, this goal is best accomplished by making school bullying socially unacceptable. That’s why our program targets the bystander students, who researchers say are the key to anti-bullying campaigns. These are the kids who typically ignore bullying when they see it happening — or make it worse by egging on the bullies. When they learn that bullying isn’t cool anymore, and express that new attitude whenever confronted with bullying situations, they take away the bullies’ incentive for picking on fellow students. Bullies feel pressured to stop. Society made smoking socially unacceptable in a similar way, by adopting a widespread attitude that smoking is undesirable. We can do the same with bullying. And when we do, the words “freedom from bullying” will be more than just words.
To create and implement innovative programs that teach children and adults how to use cooperation and social connection for individual development and grassroots community improvement