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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

July 21, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Commentary: Group tackles bullying with acts of kindness

Courtesy of Samantha Guther
Courtesy of Samantha Guther

You are beautiful.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Don’t say thank you, don’t roll your eyes, and don’t try to deny it. Just accept those words. You are a beautiful person. Think about how that makes you feel.

Think about the power of those simple words. Think about how you can make a person feel with those words. Bullying has been a major problem in our country for years. We hear heartbreaking stories all the time about how young students have committed suicide because of bullying and how other students have driven their peers to lash out or fall apart. We pass people every day who have been bullied, or who have bullied others, without even realizing it. In 2010, according to bullyingstatistics.org, one in seven students from kindergarten through the end of high school have been bullied at some point. With the explosion of the Internet, cyberbullying has become yet another facet of an already enormous problem. It has become all too easy to anonymously insult and hurt others — and all too easy to distance yourself from the situation.

It’s estimated that every day about 160,000 students miss school in fear of being bullied. While opposition against bullying has been growing through the country, the problem isn’t going away. There are still students who live in fear of going to school, and there are too many people who are passive about the situation, especially those in positions of authority.

Most importantly, all of these things are preventable. Something needs to be done, and we aim to make the change.

In response to the problem of bullying, we have created a new group on campus called We Are One, which will focus on anti-bullying and self-positivity through multimedia and the arts. We plan to sponsor films, projects, shows and anything art-related that inspires students to act out against bullying. We are passionate about creating a safe and accepting environment not only on campus but beyond. We want to make sure students all over Ithaca, all over the country and all over the world know that no matter how dark it may seem, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

We want to make sure everyone realizes that bullying isn’t a distant thing that is happening in a mystical “somewhere else.” It happens in your schools; it happens in your town; it happens everywhere. And most importantly, we have the power to change it. Any change starts with one person. It starts with you; it starts with kind words. That can be all it takes to save someone’s life. You may have noticed our compliment campaign around campus. We post inspirational notes every so often on the bulletin boards scattered around the buildings for the simple purpose of brightening people’s days.

We want to remind everyone passing by that there is always hope. It may seem small to some, but even something as simple as a smile can save someone’s life. We want to involve everyone we can on campus. Our goal is to make sure you realize you are worth it and so is everyone else around you. We aim to spread inspiration, tolerance and above all, kindness.

And just remember this: You are awesome.