I had the opportunity the other evening to see an advance local screening of the new major documentary, “Bully.” This was just a few days before it came to theaters here in South Florida. There’s no need to repeat all the praise already heaped on this film for its power and its important message. No, the Humanity Project simply wants to urge everyone to see it. Soon. Our screening was presented by the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), sixth largest school district in the United States. This is where the Humanity Project gives our acclaimed Anti-bullying Through The Arts program to several thousand elementary school children each year, with help from partners such as Broward Sheriff’s Office, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, State Farm and others. BCPS has been a leader on the issue of bullying for several years. The Humanity Project is proud to be part of that effort and part of the national anti-bullying movement as well. So much so, in fact, that our organization was recently contacted by the home office of Sears, requesting that the Humanity Project take part in a new national anti-bullying campaign by the retail chain. As they wrote to us, ”I’m contacting you on behalf of Sears because your organization has been identified as a key leader in the anti-bullying movement.” It’s true — and our innovative program really works. We think it’s important, then, to add our voice to the widespread commentary on the movie, “Bully.” To us, this film is a gamechanger in the anti-bullying campaign. Why? Because it is the first major cultural medium to tackle this topic so forcefully and movingly. In our society, people often form opinions based on what they see and hear in popular culture. Yes, there’s been much discussion about bullying for the past two or three years. But interviews on talk shows don’t carry the same weight in people’s minds as a major motion picture by the Weinstein Co. I think that it sends a much more powerful message than anything to date, a message that will alter the thinking of parents and kids, teachers and counselors. It creates a social vibe, of sorts: “Bullying is always unacceptable.” Much the same thing happened long ago with smoking, aided by a shift in the way smoking was portrayed in movies, books, magazines and television. People saw that smoking was no longer “cool.” Now people are recognizing that bullying is not kids-being-kids — and that it isn’t and never really was cool. That’s a gamechanger in our book. Thanks, Weinstein Co., for bringing this idea to the masses in a way that hasn’t happened until now.
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