Respect Protest: Anti-Bullying Beyond the United States

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Claudia White, a 17-year old student at the Bedales School in the UK, is making her own mark in the fight against anti-bullying by launching grincampaign.com (GRIN Global Respect In Education) and a viral RESPECT protest. Claudia tells dot429, ” When it became heavily publicized about suicides in the LGBT community, I realized that something actually needed to be done about it. This is not a problem that is uniquely in America, it is a global problem. It is a problem that is always there regardless of whether the press is interested or not.”

Claudia wants to “make respecting people in school a cool idea.” She hopes the RESPECT protest will take flight with people around the world, updating their Facebook profiles to feature RESPECT in rainbow letters across their faces. Claudia is encountering hurdles in fully launching her campaign because the British media and population are, as she says, “ignoring that it is a problem. It is a very British thing to say ‘Oh, no, no no, it is not a problem – we can cope.” The young advocate explains, “I have watched some of my friends treated differently. I didn’t see the justification for why they were being treated as they were.”

The “It Gets Better Project” saturated the internet and media culture in the United States. Claudia is striving to add to this awareness by creating a world wide movement and specifically targeting her own community. Wise beyond her years, Claudia expresses hope for the future, saying, “students are going to grow up to be the generation of tomorrow. If you can teach students to respect, then we should have a respectful society tomorrow.”

The GRIN campaign goes beyond viral advocacy to include online calls to action, direct actions that strategically target those with decision-making power, photographic protests, social networking to raise awareness, and education in schools.

While “tomorrow” may not be as soon as we hope, the consistent efforts that teens like Claudia are making affect positive change in peoples’ minds and attitudes.

For more information go to www.grincampaign.com

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