Friday, October 19, 2012

"Spirit Day 2012" -- Taking a Stand Against Bullying!

Today is "Spirit Day" -- an annual day in October when millions of Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. The brainchild of Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan, Spirit Day originated in 2010 and has grown to an international day of awareness and advocacy.

And so -- in addition to having the Integrity website "go purple" -- it seemed a good day to remind Integrity members and friends that the Episcopal Church called for a churchwide response against bullying in Indianapolis last summer with General Convention Resolution D022:
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 77th General Convention calls for a church wide response to the epidemic of bullying, particularly of those perceived as being “different” by virtue of economic, ethnic, racial or physical characteristics, religious status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression; bullying is defined as the recurring use of single or combined written, verbal or electronic expressions or physical acts or gestures, directed at any person that: result in physical or emotional harm to the person or damage to his/her property; places the person in reasonable fear of harm to him/herself or of damage to her/his property; creates an intimidating or hostile environment for the person; impacts the rights of the victim. Bullying shall include cyber-bullying through elctronic/social media, telephonic technology or other means; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention encourage new partnerships among our congregations, dioceses, campus ministries, National Association of Episcopal Schools, public schools, counseling centers, and governmental organizations in order to support and offer preventative programs addressing bullying, harassment, and other related violence, especially with higher risk populations; and be it further

Resolved, That these partnerships be encouraged to create or join with existing required programs designed to recognize and prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation in our church settings which:
- utilize positive, inclusive, empowering and developmentally appropriate materials
- raise participant’s awareness about the issue
- focus on prevention
- seek to change bystander behavior into ally behavior
- create partnerships between youth and adults
- provide intervention and treatment for those who exhibit bullying behavior.
We encourage all Episcopalians to use "Spirit Day" as an opportunity to increase awareness throughout the church about this important issue and to commit to work throughout the coming year to turn this resolution calling for a churchwide response to bulling into a reality.

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