Twitter Safety

#ActToChange with Twitter to Prevent Bullying


#ActToChange with Twitter to Prevent Bullying

By Patricia Cartes

At Twitter we work hard to create a safe, secure and an enjoyable environment for our users.

This October, during National Bullying Prevention Month, we are excited to promote the bullying prevention campaign #ActToChange. Visit ActToChange.org to take the #ActToChange pledge against bullying, find resources in multiple languages, and check out empowerment video and music playlists.  And follow the organizations behind #ActToChange; @WhiteHouseAAPI, @sikh_coalition, and @CAPEUSA.

As social media and internet technology continues to evolve, we have taken the insight shared by Twitter users and safety experts on a regular basis to develop innovations to better serve our users.  Over the last few months, we changed our reporting mechanisms, overhauled how we review user reports, and improved our block feature. We have also created a new Safety Center portal consisting of resources for anyone who wants to learn about online safety. The portal includes sections specifically targeted for teens, parents, and educators.

Bullying prevention initiatives are important but they can’t be successful without the involvement of all of us and our communities. Recently, we hosted a Q&A with the Diana Awards Anti-Bullying Campaign to​ combat cyberbullying​, which featured popular YouTuber Marcus Butler who offered advice to young people about how to deal with bullying and cyber-bullying when going back to school. We also recently partnered with STOMP Out Bullying, a nonprofit based in New York, and the New York Jets to create STOMP Out Bullying Educators’ Prevention Toolkits. Other programs we have contributed to include the NO BULL Challenge, an initiative that uses the power of social media and filmmaking to combat bullying, and Vodafone’s #BeStrong campaign.

Bullying prevention efforts are key to stop online harassment and to promote a safe environment for all of our Twitter users. To learn more about Twitter’s stance against bullying and online safety, follow @Safety and check out our list of partners in the Safety Center.

Lastly, join us in using the hashtag #ActToChange to share your story and your suggestions for promoting good digital citizenship!

Patricia Cartes is Head of Global Trust and Safety Outreach, Public Policy at Twitter.

ATC - event banner

November 21: Act To Change Live Event in Los Angeles

WHIAAPI-ATC Flyer

Join the #ActToChange movement against bullying at this free public event, featuring distinguished Asian American and Pacific Islander personalities and community members through armchair discussions, performances, and more. Reserve your spot now.

High school students: Learn advocacy skills and how you can be a voice against bullying. Join a pre-event “APA Y-Advocate” training hosted by OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates at 9 am – 12 pm. Register for this training directly with OCA here. 

Maulik Pancholy video screenshot

Join the #ActToChange Movement Against Bullying

By Maulik Pancholy

Growing up, sometimes people made me feel like an outsider; I was the perfect storm of nerdy, gay, and Indian American. But now, I’ve come to find that those very things that were sometimes used as fodder against me are the things I love the most about myself. I have the privilege to be connected to amazing communities of incredible people: people who know that it’s actually cool to nerd out about stuff, who celebrate the strength and joy of what it means to identify as LGBT, and who appreciate the rich cultural heritage of being Indian American.

It’s okay to be weird, but it’s NOT okay to be bullied.

Every day, kids of all ages suffer from being bullied in schools across the country. In the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, this problem is often complicated by cultural, religious, and linguistic barriers that can keep AAPI youth from getting the help they need. And we’ve seen that certain AAPI groups – including South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Micronesian, and limited English proficient youth – are more likely to be the targets of bullying.

That’s why today, during National Bullying Prevention Month, I’m proud to join the White House Initiative on AAPIs, in partnership with the Sikh Coalition and the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, in launching “Act To Change,” a public awareness campaign to address bullying, including in the AAPI community. “Act To Change” aims to empower students, families, and educators with the knowledge and tools to help prevent and end bullying in their communities. In addition to raising awareness, the campaign encourages AAPI youth and adults to share their stories, engage in community dialogues, and take action against bullying.

This campaign website, ActToChange.org, includes video and music empowerment playlists, and encourages you to “Take a Pledge” to join the #ActToChange movement and stand up against bullying. As one out of three AAPIs does not speak English fluently, resources are available in Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, Urdu, and Vietnamese. “Act To Change” will also feature video testimonials of AAPI celebrity athletes, artists, and entertainers.

The “Act To Change” campaign builds a broad, diverse coalition of supporters and forges public-private partnerships across media platforms, and through nonprofit organizations, celebrities, and other stakeholders. “Act To Change” supporters will champion the campaign by:

  • Promoting “Act To Change” content, using the brand and logo on their platforms. This includes using media space online, on television, and on other platforms to spread the word about “Act To Change.”
  • Sharing resources with “Act To Change.” This includes cross-promoting bullying prevention resources.
  • Making influencer and personality commitments. This includes integrating “Act To Change” content in different influencers’ and personalities’ platforms to spread the word.
  • Creating original content for their audience promoting it through their own platforms and talent. This includes creating content that resonates with their particular audiences and doing what they do best: communicating with, engaging, and mobilizing communities to act.
  • Developing new or expanding upon existing programs. This includes building upon existing programming and youth outreach efforts to include bullying prevention themes and messaging.

As we all know, bullying doesn’t build character, it breaks confidence. Join me in the #ActToChange movement against bullying today. Check out ActToChange.org today and learn more.

Take the “Act To Change” pledge:

  • Help stop bullying by not bullying others.
  • Report bullying that you see or experience to your school and trusted adults.
  • Help someone you see who is being bullied.
  • Spread the word about bullying awareness.
  • Share information and resources about bullying prevention and response.
  • Be proud of who you are and celebrate our differences.

Maulik Pancholy is a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Looking down at sneakers

FACT SHEET: Launch of the “Act To Change” Public Awareness Campaign to Prevent Bullying Among Asian American and Pacific Islander Youth

DOWNLOAD PDF

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2015

 

Every day, kids of all ages suffer from being bullied in schools across the country. In the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, this problem is often compounded by cultural, religious, and linguistic barriers that can keep AAPI youth from seeking and receiving help. Anecdotal evidence has shown that certain AAPI groups – including South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Micronesian, LGBT, immigrant, and limited English proficient youth – are more likely to be the targets of bullying.

AAPI Bullying Prevention Task Force

In November 2014, on the fifth anniversary of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the White House announced several new initiatives to address hate incidents and hate crimes, including a new Interagency Initiative on Hate Crimes. Additionally, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, launched the AAPI Bullying Prevention Task Force (AAPI Task Force). In light of concerns about the high rates of bullying and harassment targeting Sikh youth and incidents such as the attacks on immigrant Asian students at South Philadelphia High School in December 2009, the AAPI Task Force has been charged with raising awareness among the AAPI community of federal resources and remedies available to them.

The AAPI Task Force brings together federal experts in civil rights, language access, education, community relations, public health, mental health, and data to work closely with community stakeholders to:

  • Identify barriers to reporting bullying and harassment
  • Understand obstacles to full and equal access to remedial and support resources
  • Analyze data on bullying and harassment in the AAPI community
  • Improve the federal government’s outreach and resources

The AAPI Task Force has collected and disseminated information through convening listening sessions between federal experts and community members.  To date, the AAPI Task Force has conducted more than 25 listening sessions in cities across the country to facilitate discussions with youth, parents, and educators and learn more about issues of bullying in the AAPI community.

Additionally, to address a lack of data on bullying as it affects AAPI youth, the AAPI Task Force is conducting an informational survey of community leaders through the end of 2015. The survey is gathering information about what bullying of AAPI students looks like, who is being bullied, on what basis, and whether AAPI students are talking to adults and peers in their schools and communities about the bullying they experience.  The responses will help inform recommendations of the AAPI Task Force for its May 2016 report.

Launching “Act To Change”

Today, the White House Initiative on AAPIs, in partnership with the Sikh Coalition and the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, is launching “Act To Change,” a public awareness campaign to address bullying, including in the AAPI community. “Act To Change” aims to empower students, families, and educators with the knowledge and tools to help prevent and end bullying in their communities. In addition to raising awareness, the campaign encourages AAPI youth and adults to share their stories, engage in community dialogues, and take action against bullying.

The campaign website, ActToChange.org, includes video and music empowerment playlists and an organizing toolkit, and encourages visitors to “Take a Pledge” to join the #ActToChange movement and stand up against bullying. As one out of three AAPIs does not speak English fluently, resources will be available in Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, Urdu, and Vietnamese. “Act To Change” will also feature video testimonials of AAPI celebrity athletes, artists, and entertainers.

Coalition of “Act To Change” Supporters

The “Act To Change” campaign builds a broad, diverse coalition of supporters and forges public-private partnerships across media platforms, and through nonprofit organizations, celebrities, and other stakeholders. “Act To Change” supporters will champion the campaign by:

  • Promoting “Act To Change” content, using the brand and logo on their platforms. This includes using media space online, on television, and on other platforms to spread the word about “Act To Change.”
  • Sharing resources with “Act To Change.” This includes cross-promoting bullying prevention resources.
  • Making influencer and personality commitments. This includes integrating “Act To Change” content on different influencers’ and personalities’ platforms to spread the word.
  • Creating original content for their audiences and promoting it through their own platforms and talent. This includes creating content that resonates with their particular audiences and doing what they do best: communicating with, engaging, and mobilizing communities to act.
  • Developing new or expanding upon existing programs. This includes building upon existing programming and youth outreach efforts to include bullying prevention themes and messaging.

Examples of commitments by “Act To Change” supporters include:

  • Innovation session of thought leaders: Socket Group will convene a brain trust of leading experts from diverse fields to determine a collaborative and creative solution to help AAPI youth identify bullying.
  • Teach For America: Teach For America’s Asian American & Pacific Islander Initiative will host a listening session with its corps members and alumni to discuss AAPI bullying in their classrooms. In addition to promoting “Act To Change” content on its various platforms, Teach For America will develop a blog campaign to elevate the voices of both teachers and former educators who have dealt with AAPI bullying in their classrooms.
  • Twitter: As part of its mission to create a safe, secure, and enjoyable environment for users, Twitter will promote “Act To Change” on its Safety Center webpages, blog, and handles, as well as create new translated materials about safety and cyberbullying.
  • YMCA of the USA: YMCA of the USA, working to strengthen more than 10,000 communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, will disseminate “Act To Change” content to Ys across the United States to build awareness and encourage participation in the campaign. They will also contribute Y-USA-owned tools and materials to the “Act To Change” resources page.
  • National Education Association: The National Education Association will promote the “Act To Change” campaign to its 3 million members as part of its ongoing national campaign to raise awareness and engage adults and educators in stopping bullying whenever or wherever it occurs, and to make the nation’s schools and classrooms safe, bully-free environments for all students.
  • Islamic Networks Group: Islamic Networks Group (ING), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to counter prejudice and discrimination against Muslim Americans, will promote “Act To Change” across its platforms and incorporate “Act To Change” resources in its INGYouth Program for young Muslim Americans.
  • Hindu American Foundation: In addition to promoting “Act To Change” through its various platforms, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) will publish survey data on anti-Hindu bullying and bias in schools. HAF is working with other AAPI and faith-based groups, including Sikh and Muslim organizations, on educating teachers on how to combat bullying.
  • Center for Asian American Media & PBS: The Center for Asian American Media, in association with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), will promote and amplify the message of “Act To Change” through their web and social media platforms.
  • GLSEN: GLSEN has contributed materials to the “Act To Change” resources page and will promote “Act To Change” on its social media platforms.
  • National Council of Asian Pacific Americans: The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of 35 national nonprofit organizations representing diverse AAPI communities, will promote “Act To Change” through social media platforms and targeted youth outreach engagements.
  • ISAtv: ISAtv, founded by Asian American entertainment groups Wong Fu Productions and Far East Movement to elevate Asian Pacific American lifestyle and culture, will host video content on its YouTube channel, involve its digital space personalities, and promote “Act To Change” on its social media platforms.
  • #ActToChange Live Event in Los Angeles: The campaign partners in collaboration with local organizations in the greater Los Angeles area will host an #ActToChange live event at the Japanese American National Museum on November 21. The public live event will feature armchair dialogues and performances with distinguished personalities. Prior to the event, OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national civil rights organization, will host a high school advocacy training, expanding upon its existing “APA Y-Advocate” program to include a bullying prevention curriculum.

“Act To Change” supporters include: 18 Million Rising; 8Asians.com; Angry Asian Man; Asian Americans Advancing Justice|AAJC; Asian American Journalists Association; Asian American Psychological Association; Asian Cinevision; Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance; Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund; Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations; Boat People SOS; Brown Girl Magazine; Bystander Revolution; The California Endowment; The Center for Asian Pacific American Women; Center on Asian American Media; Council on American Islamic Relations – CA; East Coast Asian American Student Union; Empowering Pacific Islander Communities; FLAWD/WeStopHate.org; Global Grind; GLSEN; Hindu American Foundation; Hmong National Development, Inc.; ISAtv; Islamic Networks Groups; Japanese American Citizens League; Japanese American National Museum; Laotian American National Alliance, Inc.; Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc.; MTV; Muslim Advocates; National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association; National Asian Pacific American Bar Association; National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse; National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum; National Council of Asian Pacific Americans; National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians; National Education Association; National Federation of Filipino American Associations; National Korean American Service & Education Consortium; National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance; OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates; PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center; Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); Scholastic; Socket Group; Sons & Brothers; Teach For America; Traktivist.com – Asian American Music & Radio; Twitter; Vietnamese American Media Network; and YMCA of the USA.

For more information on the campaign, visit ActToChange.org.

The White House Initiative on AAPIs, co-chaired by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Vivek Murthy and led by Executive Director Kiran Ahuja, is housed within the U.S. Department of Education.

#ActToChange personal story

Slurs Sting the Most

By Benedict Joson

Race and stereotypes are intertwined. One of the most common is Asians are bad drivers.  Innocuous, right? Wrong.

I will never forget the moment my father, mother, and I were denigrated for daring to be Asian and driving.

We were in a shopping center looking for a parking spot and just as we were about to stow our car, we were met by a temporary impasse. Another driver wanted the same stall, but my father reasoned that we had secured and waited for the space.

Then a passerby driver interjected. “Don’t mind the Asian.”

What does that even mean? Don’t mind the Asian? Why? What purpose does it serve to be so demeaning? Were we second-class citizens? The subtle yet, powerful remark of the driver implied that we were to be considered less worthy of their time and thought.

Benedict Joson

Benedict Joson

It is slurs such as those that sting the most and enable the cycle of bullying to continue. A subtle epithet, especially when said by an adult, gives the message to all that it is ok to shrug others off because of their race or perceived otherness.

As young people, we must speak up and speak out, even to adults. Silence will only permit stereotypes to become discrimination, and discrimination to become bullying. Let’s stop the cycle of bullying where it starts, from our mind and mouth.

Do onto others, as you would have done unto yourself. Treat people kindly and make them feel worthy. Even the smallest and softest words can hurt; but it is words that can also be the catalyst for a positive difference.

Benedict Joson is a Filipino American working on sustainable development and youth empowerment projects with The Philippines Foundation. He is a recent graduate of CUNY Hunter College, global youth ambassador for A World at School, development intern at Urban Upbound, VOYCE (The Voices of Youth Changes Everything) director, and a Hope Reichbach Fund advisor. 

Bullying is targeted aggression or hurtful behavior towards someone that’s aimed at creating a sense of isolation. This blog post is part of ActToChange.org’s features of voices against bullying. “Act To Change” is a public awareness campaign to address bullying, including in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. For more information, visit www.ActToChange.org.

From Colaba to Carteret: Bullying Rooted in the First-Generation Experience and the Unexpected Redemption that Ensued

By Kavita Mehra

It is the course of actions that precede us that ultimately define our future. My life’s path was paved well before I was born. In fact, it was paved almost two decades prior in 1965, with the passing of The Immigration and Nationality Act.

Through my mother’s foresight, my parents and two sisters left Bombay (or what is present day Mumbai) for the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” trading in mangos and fresh coconut juice for pizza and coffee. They landed in Carteret, NJ, a humble, industrial, working class town in the central part of the State.

But as the third South Asian family to move into Carteret, my family was greeted by a petition to bar them from purchasing a house and racial epitaphs viciously spray-painted across the front entrance.  For the sin of our ethnicity, my sisters and I were targeted and attacked in school — frequently physically and sometimes violently.

Taunts and bullying began well before I even understood their meaning and progressed in their viciousness from verbal assaults to physical abuse. There was the eighth grade boy who broke a glass bottle on my head to the sixth grade teacher who announced in front of the whole class that I should “go back to where I came from.” The consistent thread weaving everything together was the herd-like mentality among my peers. I was never just bullied by one person – it was always done with a leader followed by those cheering the bully along while I was tormented.

But this isn’t a story about the impact of being a first generation American. It is a redemption story. A story that illustrates life doing a full circle and bringing closure – closure you thought you’d already taken care of.

**

Kavita Mehra

Kavita Mehra

A little over a year ago, I reacquainted with a bully from my formative years. He did not remember me or the past that we shared, having been more of an engaged participant than a lead tormentor of my childhood. As often is the case for the bullied and oppressed, I had to let bygones be bygones in order to move forward with my life with a positive attitude. Our similar professions led our lives to intersect regularly, and our interactions were always very pleasant. We even worked together a project for the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, securing funding to directly impact the nutrition and health of over 300 children in Newark.

It was astonishing that an individual who had held such a painful place in my mind had – without even knowing it – completely redeemed himself. The type of proactive kindness he’d demonstrated is not a trait of a racist bully, but of one who cares about the welfare of others. The unexpectedness and unusualness of my experience with this individual left me wondering…

Is it fair to judge a person on the worst of experiences? Would I want to be evaluated when I am not my best self? Is redemption possible if the person being redeemed is unaware of it?

As I continue to reflect on this deeply felt experience, I see so many lessons within it. Lessons in redemption’s timetable, in letting go and moving on, and the many layers to forgiveness. Lessons in what time is capable of doing. Lessons that only the pain of adversity can deliver.

And that there is the American way. Overcoming adversity. When the American way is going on as intended, it’s something we’re all doing together — bully and bullied, forgiver and forgiven, redeemer and redeemed, arm in arm. Aware or unaware. But overcoming.

Kavita Mehra is the Chief Transformation Officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, the first and only individual to occupy this title out of 4,200 Boys & Girls Clubs across the Country. In her role, Kavita works directly with the Chief Executive Officer to grow and manage all aspect of the organization. Kavita has blogged for the Huffington Post, and has been featured in leading media outlets including NY1 and Meet the Leaders. In 2015, Kavita was featured in “Roshni: Emerging Indian Global Leaders” for her work in the not-for-profit sector. Kavita completed her Bachelor of Arts from New York University with a double major in both History and Gender Studies. She also holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in South Asian Studies, from Columbia University.

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. This blog post is part of ActToChange.org’s features of voices against bullying. “Act To Change” is a public awareness campaign to address bullying, including in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. For more information, visit www.ActToChange.org.