I would like to take an opportunity at the beginning of the New Year 2017 to give shout outs to the media and the articles about our children, the brave and intrepid children of these articles, who are our future and will make a difference in our lives, our communities, and the world. Their voices, their actions, their dreams are so important right now to have exposure, a forum, an ear of everyone who can listen, have an open mind, and a willing heart for some real changes.
Thank you, Jerry Large, columnist for The Seattle Times, for your article on “Bully Busters Take on Rude Pols” (December 19, 2016). You highlighted the bully issues that girls face everyday. Emma Coopersmith, Lilah Aman-Lucas, and Lola Hurst saw the big picture of the political campaigning and nailed what is wrong. They have started their anti-bullying campaign because of “that awful stuff that was said during the election about women and their bodies and their capabilities.” These eleven year old girls have a voice, have pens and know how to use them.
“Three sixth-grade girls heard mean comments during the recent presidential campaign that made them think politicians could use lessons in good behavior, so they’re doing some teaching. They created a campaign called D.C. Bully Busters, which encourages kids to send letters to political leaders in Washington, D.C., schooling them on how to deal with bullying. The girls also are reminding the rest of us that we can meet negative stuff with positive action.” – Jerry Lange
Another loud, proud shout out to the January 2017 National Geographic, Special Issue, GENDER Revolution, that is dedicated to global issues relating to gender, focusing on the young people in different parts of our world, and how societies deal with sexual orientation, especially redefining the very term “gender”. As if this is not confusing enough for most of us, there are now twenty-one definitions in one article on redefining gender “A Portrait of Gender Today”: Agender, Androgynous, Cisgender, Gender binary, Gender conforming, Gender dysphoria, Gender expression, Genderfluid, Gender Identity, Gender marker, Gender nonconforming, Genderqueer, Intersex, LGBTQ, Nonbinary, Pronouns, Puberty suppression, Queer, Sexual Orientation, Transgender and Transsexual
The entire special issue is a beautifully done and vital edition which gives credence to those who are marginalized in all parts of the world. What we are finally acknowledging is the need to embrace all our differences. The power struggles will never end, for there will always be bullies and demagogues that make it a challenge to exist true to oneself and not as part of a herd, or ideology that suits only a narrow spectrum. These nine-year-old children across the globe comment on how their lives are, will be, and should be; it is not often pretty, but strikingly honest and sometimes, hopeful. Much has changed, but not enough. The last paragraph on page 33 sums it up succinctly: “The aspiration mentioned most often, across the lines of geography and gender, was summed up by Avery Jackson. If the world were hers to change, she said, there would be ‘no bullying. Because that’s just bad.’”
Nine year olds and eleven year olds leading the way out of the darkness. We as a nation, and as individuals, have had a long, arduous journey through the political wasteland of an election year. Your party affiliation does not matter, finger pointing and complaining about the process is futile; what we must do is put together the strewn pieces of the puzzle to make a whole picture of our government, of our nationality and lives, once again. That is what we do as Americans in a representative government–we roll up our sleeves and get to work. We put on our walking shoes and march, we put pen to paper and publish opinions, we take an active part and use our voice for change, our time, money and skills in our participation in the governing process.
It is a right of a democratic society to vocalize and mobilize in our communities, in meetings, through the media and demonstrations. Let us never forget our rights or cede our rights to voice our opinions and demand to be heard. Let us not succumb to the bullies, either in our politics or schools, work places, homes or relationships. Let all of us strive to be a change for equality and gender recognition, making it safe for children and adults to live their lives without fear of physical, emotional or mental cruelty. We can make positive changes, and we must be bigger than our petty selves and validate our humanity. We must do so for the children. Emma Coopersmith, Lilah Aman-Lucas, and Lola Hurst, the Bully Busters, and Avery Jackson, a representative voice of children globally, got it right. And that’s just good.