Working with Watchung Regional High School is always inspiring. The connection between Not In Our School and Jamie Lott-Jones and her colleague Mary Sok began with the production of a film about their school’s efforts to address cyberbullying. The partnership did not stop there. Not In Our School has been hosted at the school, met with two superintendents, and has featured Watchung’s efforts many times on NIOT.org.
After Sarah Decker and Monica Mahal participated in the citywide White-Out Against Bullying event at Watchung Hills Regional High School in New Jersey, they became dedicated to spreading awareness about the issue of bullying. Now in college, Sarah and Monica continue to promote the importance of being an upstander. By Sarah Decker and Monica Mahal Upstander. This word needs to become part of of our everyday lives. An upstander is a person who chooses to take positive action in the face of injustice in society or in situations where individuals need assistance. Bullying, hate crimes, and intolerance can be actively prevented in many cases simply by standing up for the victim and using your voice or your actions to stand against injustice.
“White-Out was that handy product used to wipe out mistakes, eliminate errors, and allow users of typewriters to begin anew. White-Out against Bullying is a movement, effort, and initiative to wipe out practices that demean, embarrass, belittle, or hurt others.” —Eleanor Matthews, The Echoes-Sentinel
In the spirit of Not In Our School, a New Jersey elementary school shares this creative way to address bullying through music. Students stage a concert that involves the whole community. Soloists singing Taylor Swift’s “Mean.” More than 100 fourth grade students at Loring Flemming Elementary School in Blackwood/Gloucester Township, NJ presented a concert revue to educate audiences about bullying, respect, and self-acceptance. The students, under the direction of their music teacher Erica Guillama, sang choral arrangements of songs such as Taylor Swift’s “Mean,” Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” Lady Gaga’s (Glee arrangement) “Born This Way,” and “We Shall Overcome.” Select speakers delivered an anti-bullying message through spoken dialogue and powerful quotes that Guillama collected from influential authors, entertainers, and philosophers.
Native Americans Open Up About Prejudice in Montana NIOT Summit Native Americans in Montana still face discrimination every day, said attendees at the Not In Our Town “Summit on Hate” in Billings, MN last week, hosted by NIOT Billings. Sometimes the racist attacks come in the form of “war chants” at high school football games. Other times, it’s the derogatory comments about government assistance all natives supposedly get. “I’ve been waiting for my ‘free Indian money’ my whole life. It doesn’t happen,” said Luella Brien, a member of the Crow tribe. Brien and others related their experiences at the summit. Read more on Indian Country Today. Northeast Neighbors Band Together in Sandy’s WakeNew York and New Jersey residents are still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, but neighborhoods have banded together to help out those most affected by the superstorm.
Interfaith community comes together after anti-Semitic attacks in Bergen County, N.J. Video from Odyssey Networks Days after Molotov cocktails were thrown through the window of Congregation Beth El in Rutherford, N.J., community members, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, and politicians gathered at Felician College to show support for their Jewish neighbors. Congretation Beth El was one of four Jewish temples targeted in the past several months. Two teenangers from Bergen County, N.J. were arrested in connection with the attacks. Rabbi Nossom Schuman of Congregation Beth El described the attack as a “dragon’s breath of fire” that came through the window of his home while his family was asleep on the top floor of the synagogue. The Molotov cocktails ignited the sheets in his bed and threatened the lives of his wife and their five children before he was able to extinguish the flames.