In 2014, I used to be appointed by means of President Obama to serve at the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). As a Commissioner, I used to be horrified to listen to statistics like:
- Half of Asian American scholars record being bullied
- 2/three of Sikh American scholars record being bullied
- Half of Muslim American scholars record being bullied as a result of their faith
The verbal, bodily and emotional violence that scholars undergo is distressing. To know that AAPI adolescence who’re bullied additionally face distinctive cultural, spiritual, and language obstacles that may stay them from getting assist was once a decision to motion.
So, in 2015, I helped release #ActToChange (ActToChange.org), a public consciousness marketing campaign to deal with bullying amongst adolescence — together with Asian American, Pacific Islander, Sikh, Muslim, LGBTQI, and immigrant adolescence — and to empower scholars, folks, academics, and communities to record, forestall, and save you bullying.
Sadly, this paintings is extra necessary now than ever. AAPI communities were critically suffering from an anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and xenophobic political local weather. We’re seeing Muslim, Sikh, immigrant, restricted English gifted, and LGBTQI children, amongst others, being centered by means of their friends and adults for a way they give the impression of being, how they discuss, their perceived citizenship standing, their sexuality, and their faith. For instance, there was once a 91% build up in anti-Muslim hate crimes right through the primary part of 2017 as in comparison to the similar duration in 2016. In the primary 3 months following Trump’s election, the Southern Poverty Law Center recorded 1,372 bias incidents, and greater than 1 / 4 of them had been motivated by means of anti-immigrant sentiments.
Where are other folks finding out to be so hateful? What is motivating them to harm others? We would possibly all have other perspectives, however we’re at a second the place bullying and prejudice from the highest down is surroundings a tone that provides permission for hatred and bigotry. Our nation and our children deserve higher.
So, for National Bullying Prevention Month, I sought after to take a second to let younger other folks listen a special message – to allow them to know that they’re no longer on my own, and that there’s assist.
As an Indian-American, LGBTQI guy who’s the proud son of immigrants, and who came about to be a complete nerd with braces, glasses, and the works, I understand how it feels to be “different” or “weird.” I’m right here to inform all the ones children available in the market suffering, that it’s alright to be “weird” nevertheless it’s no longer alright to be “bullied.”
I’ve requested a few of my pals to provide younger other folks some hope as neatly. Here are a couple of phrases from other folks chances are you’ll acknowledge:
“People who bully are insecure. It doesn’t appear find it irresistible to start with, however then that they’re doing it as a result of they experience getting a upward push out of any individual, they experience making any individual else’s existence more difficult. That’s so unhappy. I believe dangerous for other folks like this, whether or not they’re a child in school or the President of the United States. Try to not take their bait. Instead of believing them, center of attention all that power on one thing certain, one thing you’re keen about. Don’t let a bully’s lack of confidence make you insecure about your superb, stunning self.” ― Kal Penn, actor
“As women of color, we endure endless amounts of micro-aggressions and outright aggressive behaviors from all areas of our lives. Sadly, the majority of us are always told to just “shake it off” or “keep your head up.” But how are you able to shake off 1000’s of tiny cuts after they draw blood over and over? How are you able to stay your head up below all the ones damaging assertions? Here’s the trick: you don’t do it on my own. You ask for assist. You ask your folks. You ask adults you believe. You ask your academics. You ask your college counselor. You achieve out to psychological well being hotlines. You achieve out to therapists. Ask someone whom you believe or is a qualified. There is energy in group and in figuring out that you’re not wearing this burden on my own. You would possibly really feel all on my own however there are other folks to your existence who need to let you. There are even individuals who don’t know you who need to let you. You are improbable. You are stunning. You don’t seem to be on my own.” – Elizabeth Ho, actor, Netflix’s Disjointed
“There are those that appear to move out in their option to make you are feeling, now and again in probably the most painful techniques, that you just don’t have compatibility in otherwise you don’t belong. One day, you’ll understand the issues that make you an “outsider” are the very issues that provide you with a way of id and group. Find energy, hope and goal in id and group.” – Phil Yu, blogger, Angry Asian Man
“I guarantee that if you are being bullied it is because you are doing something right. You are some combination of incredibly talented, unique, smart and sensitive. You may look different, sound different and act differently than your peers but that is what will one day make you amazing. You probably can see how you’re “supposed” to behave, glance and imagine – however you simply can’t deliver your self to be like everybody else – or even while you DO take a look at to slot in, you best appear to face out MORE. You would possibly assume you’re on my own, however I’d guess that there’s most probably a choose workforce of people that really feel such as you – and they’ll turn out to be your lifelong pals – and it is possible for you to to are living as your authentic, true self of their corporate. Protect every different, love every different, and have a good time how extremely stunning it’s that you just all are so “weird.” If you’re being bullied – it’s since you are doing one thing proper. You are particular. You are robust. And at some point it is possible for you to to put in writing a observe like this to any individual else and allow them to comprehend it.” – Utkarsh Ambudkar, actor, Pitch Perfect and White Famous
“I exist on this hyphen. I’m an Indian-American-Muslim child, however am I extra Indian or am I extra American? What a part of my id am I? I struggled with that as a child. I sought after to be authorized. I skilled bullying in highschool – a child peed on my footwear, I used to be known as the ‘color of poop.’ Numerous immigrants really feel like when you come to this nation you pay the American dream tax: you’re gonna undergo some racism, and if it doesn’t price you your existence, whats up, you lucked out. But I in truth have the audacity of equality. I need to inform children that it doesn’t matter what someone tells them, they’re no longer on my own. There is assist. Despite no matter is occurring within the White House, I imagine there may be chance for alternate, which I believe is superior.” – Hasan Minhaj, comic
“I went via highschool no longer feeling protected. I used to be the butt of maximum jokes, teased, and mocked steadily. And all I did was once push it down. I driven my emotions down for years: giggling with the jokes, pretending the entirety was once adequate when my folks noticed me unhappy and simply pushing via. Please don’t do what I did. If you’re feeling bullied or made to really feel unsafe, communicate to any individual – which may be a steerage counselor, a instructor, or circle of relatives. When I in the end took the risk to be susceptible with my circle of relatives and inform them how I felt, the strengthen I were given was once surprising! When we’re bullied we imagine that it’s our fault and nobody loves us. That’s NOT true. You are cherished by means of extra puts than !” – Arjun Gupta, actor (Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and Syfy’s The Magicians) and manufacturer
“As a kid, it’s terrible to really feel not up to as a result of who you’re. Differences are what make our communities so wealthy. And I’ve steadily discovered that, the article you’ve been made amusing of for probably the most, is usually what’s going to make you stand out, if you find yourself older. Stay courageous. Stay daring.” – Sheetal Sheth, actor, manufacturer, creator, activist
“I used to be somewhat immigrant woman from Taiwan and bear in mind feeling so lonely and perplexed as a result of I felt so other. Before I may totally perceive English I bear in mind I used to be six years previous and enjoying freeze tag with the community children. It was once amusing till a boy from the opposite side road got here by means of and began to taunt me in English phrases that sounded imply. My face felt sizzling with tears on the anger that was once coming from him. Lucky for me, I had a pleasant, freckle-faced woman shield me and yell at him to forestall. I received’t ever disregard how superior she was once for status up for me. We all develop up feeling other and peculiar. Some other folks like profiting from our insecurities. But we will be able to make the selection not to make others really feel dangerous and to get up for others while you see them get harm. Growing up and discovering our means is difficult sufficient, be a pace-setter to your college and group and inspire every different to follow kindness and strengthen.” – Jenny Yang, comic
“I was the only Indian kid in my class and I remember being nervous every time the teacher would read my name out loud. I was worried it would be mispronounced, the students would laugh and then I’d have to explain it’s more like “Pootie and the blowfish” no longer like “Silly Putty”. Writing and acting gave me an opportunity to discover my emotions, achieve self assurance and meet quite a lot of cool other folks from multicultural backgrounds. That helped. And I used to be already working from my emotions metaphorically talking so once I began to bodily run that still helped. I want I’d have mentioned my emotions extra and I want I’d have requested extra questions, however through the years I discovered I’m really not on my own. And you aren’t both.” – Danny Pudi, actor
“What you’re being bullied for would possibly in truth be your superpower. Speak up. Protect it. It will make you fly, later.” – Janina Gavankar, actor, True Blood and Star Wars Battlefront II
Hear actor George Takei’s tale of bullying.
If you or any individual is being bullied, please take a look at #ActToChange. The marketing campaign site, ActToChange.org, comprises video and track empowerment playlists, and encourages you to “Take a Pledge” to enroll in the #ActToChange motion and get up towards bullying. As one out of 3 AAPIs does no longer discuss English fluently, sources are to be had in Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, Urdu, and Vietnamese. The marketing campaign encourages AAPI adolescence and adults to proportion their tales, interact in group dialogues, and take motion towards bullying.
Now, greater than ever, we wish to battle hate, discrimination, and bullying, and to empower our adolescence to embody and have a good time variations in race, ethnicity, tradition, faith, and background.
Let’s #ActToChange our faculties and communities, so that every one adolescence really feel protected and pleased with who they’re.
Stand up towards bullying. Join me and take the #ActToChange pledge nowadays.
If you or any individual wishes assist, name 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You too can textual content HELLO to 741-741 at no cost, 24-hour strengthen from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please discuss with the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of sources.