Monthly Archives: January 2011

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We Can All Learn From No Name-Calling Week

I want to mention an event happening next week, as well as some things all of us can think about and learn from it.

The eighth annual No Name-Calling Week is next week, January 24-28. No Name-Calling Week is organized by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, but the event is about name calling in general, not just anti-gay, anti-lesbian, anti-bisexual or anti-transgender name-calling.

http://www.nonamecallingweek.org

Locally, the Kitsap Safe Schools Network supports local students and gay straight alliances (GSAs) in their efforts to have related events at their schools. The local Q-Center is also doing some planning for the week.

From the GLSEN website:  “No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.”

I applaud the students that are courageously taking a stand and organizing around this issue because all students deserve a school environment where it is safe and they can learn. We all know that there is more to bullying than just name calling, but name-calling is certainly an important part to address.

As I look at some of the online comments to articles and blogs on the Kitsap Sun and other news web pages, I wonder if maybe some of us adults can learn a thing or two from these youth. When we resort to calling each other names, on either side of an issue, we block any real dialog.  There are topics that are more divisive than others, but we need to be able to have considerate conversations about all those topics.  I understand that some of the name-calling has anger and resentment behind it, and I understand sometimes the disrespectful comments are preceded by years of frustration.  However, I also think the online comments dissolve into name calling at least in part because folks feel anonymous, and therefore not really accountable, for what they are saying.  Although there is plenty of name-calling in person too.

It is not helpful to either side of an issue to make comments that are mean spirited.  One purpose of the comments is to enable some discussion and to allow alternate voices to be heard.  Some of the discussions via the comments have been valuable, with respectful points made on both sides, but those discussions are often in the minority when the issue is controversial.  Everyone does not have to agree on an issue for the discussion to be genuine; they just have to agree to have a sincere dialog.

Maybe during No Name Calling Week, and even beyond, we can all think about how respectful our comments are before we post them.

I am Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is hard for me to know where to start in writing something about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  He was such an inspiration and still has such a far reaching influence on the world.  In addition to the progress he made in civil rights, he also inspired many of us to keep working for justice and equality.  He encouraged peaceful ways to protest, inspired by Gandhi, that are still followed today.

Information about his life, and all that he accomplished, is on web pages like Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.

I want to share a couple of quotes of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that have been particularly inspirational for me.

One quote is “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  I do not want to be silent about the things that matter and that is one of the reasons that I started this blog.  It is important to speak up, tell our stories, and engage in dialog – that is how we make positive changes in hearts and minds.

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963), Martin Luther King Jr said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  That rings true for me.  As long as there are people being treated unjustly, folks need to speak up and work towards justice for those people.  Often they are not in a position to speak up for themselves, and we never know when that injustice might extend in some way to us and those that we love.

I looked for local events to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year (Monday January 17th), and found one that is happening this week on the Olympic College calendar of events:

http://www.olympic.edu/Students/StudentServices/ASOC/Events.htm

Wednesday January 12, 2011

Faith Temple

2814 Trenton Avenue, Bremerton

6 p.m.-7:30p.m

Kirkland Production Presents “Barry Scott’s Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

“An authority on life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Scott wrote and starred in Ain’t Got Long to Stay Here as a tribute to Dr. King and to teach a generation of students about one of America’s most violent and inspiring times, and the man who literally changed the entire nation.”

Free Admission and open for the entire community. Sign language interpreter services will be provided.

One tradition is to celebrate Martin Luther King Day as a day of service, a day to do something good in your community. Some final wisdom I want to share from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. relates: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'”

For more information and ideas, check out the Martin Luther King Day website:

http://mlkday.gov