I attended Promising Practices this past Saturday for my Social justice event. I found the event pretty interesting. At first we were separated into different groups, depending on which workshop you had chosen. I first in the anti-bullying workshop. We talked about different scenarios and situations of bullying. We were separated into small groups there and each group had different scenarios, some groups talked out loud about their scenarios others put on a skit for the class. Each form of bullying was different, from lunch room bullies to cyber bullies to the bullies at gym class. In all situations the bystander has a huge advantage to overpower the bully by standing up for the person being harassed, but if the bystander remains silent the bully has much more control. It was entertaining and everyone enjoyed it, but it also got you to think and learn from it. Some parents in the class asked questions in the end because they had children in school that were being bullied I think that they also got a lot out of it and I really hope that it helped them. I think though that in schools they need to have more proactive anti bullying programs implemented into the normal weekly routine of the school. Stop bullying before it even happens. Just telling g the kids to “knock it off”, or “just get along”, is very passive for something that is so serious. Teachers and students both need to become more informed on the topic so that they can be a help to stopping bullying and not just playing the role of the passive bystander. The second workshop that they tied into this one was informing us on transgender people. Elizabeth Henshsaw ran this discussion. She was very into it and is sure everyone could tell. She tied it in to the previous topic because these transgender people get bullied so badly for something that they cannot even help, which is very sad. “Creating awareness” is the first step to getting people to understand and accept these people.
A quote that I liked that was on her PowerPoint was, “What we don’t know we fear, what we fear we shun, what we shun we don’t know”. So learning more about something makes it seem not so bad after all. The more knowledge you have the more open minded and accepting you are. She taught us about some of the ways we can be more respectful of people’s differences creating a more comfortable environment for everyone. Some of the ways you can be more sensitive to these groups are, using gender neutral pronouns and words, be understanding and observant, don’t separate groups into boys and girls and also include gender diverse books and posters in curriculum. I defiantly learned a lot from this part of the workshop as well. After this we went to a teen empowerment session. This was interesting seeing the 3 people who all had different but also similar backgrounds coming together to help other struggling teens, and to provide a strong, positive and powerful message, that we are all strong individuals. They were aiming to some us that we all have a voice and the power of just one voice can go a very far way. They all provide message that success will be reached with ambition and hard work, but it is by no mean unachievable. The last thing we did was hear a message from the youth panel. I really enjoyed all the stories that they had to share with us, I found them very interesting. Over all I am happy that I chose Promising practices as my social justice event. I think that I got a lot out of it.