Although the assimilation of the new Americans into the United States brings challenges especially for students, these problems aren’t being ignored. The White House has implemented an anti-bullying campaign to help Asian Americans specifically who are suffering from bullying in their schools in the United States.
The White House is taking a stand against bullying of all types of people, but the Act to Change campaign wants to make it clear that Asian immigrants face a special set of problems that are often overlooked but deserve recognition and action taken to protect and fix this aggressive behavior. Many misconceptions and stereotypes fuel these types of bullying. Other organizations have teamed up with the Act to Change campaign, such as the Sikh Coalition. In addition to the Asian American population particularly being targeted for bullying, Sikh children also face major bullying issues. The Sikh Coalition website states that 67% of Sikh children face bullying in schools; an astounding number. Bullying of this population has even been referred to as an “epidemic.” This organization also makes the point that targeting this type of bullying doesn’t even start with dealing with the bullies themselves, but instead giving those dealing with the bullies the tools to defend themselves and seek help.
This campaign launched in October if 2015 with hopes to raise awareness to the violence. Their goal is to reach out to not only the students but also the faculty and parents of these children with the hopes to “report, stop and prevent bullying.” “Act to Change” encourages students to speak out against bullying and violence they or their peers may be experiencing, believing that it only takes one person to make a difference for the victims of bullying. This issue is a big problem, but with the right resources the White House believes it can be solved and students can be protected.
“Act to Change” gives the opportunity to “take the pledge” to not bully and not let other be bullied. This campaign understands that there are many factors that get in the way of children being able to seek help from adults. Not only is this campaign designed to empower students who need help, but also teachers, parents and other students in these schools to take a stand and make the right choice when they are put in a situation where they are prompted to make the choice to help someone in need.
Facts about bullying in schools are alarming. One out of every five students, on average, faces some sort of bullying. Additionally, the campaign urges students to talk about their experiences, further enforcing the fact that it’s okay to talk about it and to make it known that nobody is alone in their fight against bullying.
In November of 2015, the campaign held an event in Los Angeles. Over 200 people attended. Attendees ranged from artists to community leaders to young people who are facing these issues. This event was held to continue to help with the empowerment of these victims and let them hear stories from even the most distinguished professionals who faced similar circumstances growing up, or even as adults, and to make it known to all the bullied students that it’s not okay to feel harassed, especially because of their race or religion, and in fear of going back to school or work or wherever it is where they feel victimized. There were also testimonials of those who strive to bring intervention to the bullies themselves, who are clearly facing a completely different set of personal obstacles that drive them to have the desire to hurt others, either verbally, physically or both.
This event created an atmosphere of safety and community, reminding everyone that this is a huge issue in America as the country is seeing more and more immigrants from all around the world coming into our communities and school systems. It was created to be celebratory of each person’s uniqueness and that being different is a good thing, nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed of.
There are also legal teams that can be contacted if a student feels bullied or if someone sees or knows of a fellow student being bullied. Bullying is “an act of exerting aggressive, abusive behavior upon others with the intent of causing them mental, emotional or physical harm.” Because all the actions that are defined as bullying consist of a wide range of name calling to assault with weapons, not every child understands when he or she is being bullied. If any action is being brought upon that harms someone in any way, shape or form then something needs to be done about it.