A few years ago I was given some training on how to help students who witness bullying to stand up and say, “It’s not ok!” or “That’s not cool!” Apparently, research says that bullies may not change from internal motivation, but if those who witness the bullying behaviour disapprove, the behaviour may change as it no longer produces the attention they want. The witnesses of bullying have the power to change the balance of power.
The last few days there have been plenty of people, organizations expressing the “That’s not coolness” of Donald Trump’s desire to ban Muslims from entering the US and desire to track those inside the US.
- Historians show parallels with fascist leaders
- Lawyers have questioned the legality
- religious leaders discuss theology
- millions have show open, welcoming responses to new Syrian refugees
Two of my favourite responses won’t be seen on news reports, but profoundly touched my heart. The day after the news report of the Trump’s horrific ideas, my daughter’s elementary school sent home a letter saying the teachers decided not to play Secret Santa this year, but instead to financially contribute to resettlement support for Syrian refugees. Then the students were invited to contribute to Syrian refugee needs rather than giving teachers Christmas gifts this year. A thoughtful, humble, proactive response. While I was describing the teachers’ kindness, a family friend who was riding in the car with us said, “Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that. Actually I’ve made a mask that says, ‘be free’ and shows all of these stitches because I’ve thought the God would have all the different skin colours stitched together. Yeah, and then I wrote STOP DISCRIMINATION on it.”
Artist: Brody Kelly-Charles
The next day the young man showed me his mask which is still headed to the kiln. It’s beautiful in meaning, powerful in appearance – his heart and expressiveness revealed.
Teachers, scholars, politicians, varieties of religious communities, teenagers so many who follow the wisdom to
Speak up for those you cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute
Speak up and judge fairly;
Defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Those who currently immigrate as refugees will take awhile to get established, learn language, deal with trauma, but this week as I’ve angered at a rich and powerful __________ (Don’t assume a curse word was intended; I just can’t come up with a precise way to accurately portray my horror), I’ve been hoped by the refugees entering Canada and by the hearts of thousands of people who have stood up and said, “That’s not ok! in millions of big and little ways.