Join the Conversation: Let’s talk about bullying

Transformation often starts with a conversation. When individuals unite to create dialogue, they set the tone for positive change.

That is the premise of Defeat the Label’s (DTL) Community Conversation on Bullying. Over the past four years, DTL has hosted the event during National Bullying Prevention Month- a time when organizations, youth and youth advocates create heightened awareness of the issue and work toward interventions and solutions.

“Since we hosted the first Community Conversation, one thing that has shifted is that bullying continues to be taken more seriously by schools, parents and the community,” said DTL Executive Director Jamie Greene. “When we started this, even though it was in the not so recent past, there was still a feeling of ‘sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me’ from many adults. Now, we are realizing the drastic and sometimes even deadly impact, that bullying can result in.”

Cyberbullying is a major concern

A 2018 Pew Research Survey found majority of teens have experienced some form of cyberbullying. Nearly 60% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online, and many say it’s a major problem for people their age.

A vast majority of teens (90%) believe online harassment is a problem that affects people their age. Unfortunately, many of the young people surveyed think key groups, such as teachers, social media companies and politicians are failing at tackling the issue.

But the good news is that teens think parents are doing a better job in addressing cyberbullying.

Greene recommends that parents continue to have open conversations with their children about bullying.

“Make sure that we are all speaking the same language about what is bullying and what isn’t bullying and how (young people) can recognize bullying behavior, not only directed to themselves, but also towards their peers.”

Join the conversation
WHEN:
October 24, 2019; 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
WHERE: Oakland Schools Conference Center, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township, MI
REGISTRATION: $25; RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-conversation-on-bullying-tickets-49907633074

Event to honor International Day of the Girl, highlight advancements in girls’ human rights

Bell Global Justice Institute and Wayne County Community College District’s Diversity and Inclusion Program are partnering to celebrate International Day of the Girl and provide resources for individuals and organizations to uplift and support girls locally and globally. The event will be held on Saturday, October 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at WCCCD’s Downtown Campus at 1001 West Fort Street, Detroit, MI.

International Day of the Girl (official observance Oct. 11) is commemorated around the world by UN Member States, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and citizens to raise awareness and inspire action around the unique barriers and challenges girls face. This is also a time set aside by the United Nations to recognize and honor the achievements of girls worldwide.

“This year we will be discussing the advancements made in girls’ human rights since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995,” said London Bell, president and CEO of Bell Global Justice. “Join us to learn more about this significant international policy and how you can be involved.”

About Bell Global Justice

The mission of Bell Global Justice Institute is to inspire, empower, build, and mobilize strong voices and impactful actions to advance and preserve the human rights and human dignity of women and girls globally. The organization is named in honor of SSGT. Vincent J. Bell, U.S. Marine Corps. (1983-2011, Afghanistan), and its work is guided an informed by a commitment to and respect for human rights, human dignity, inclusiveness, equality, and social justice.
The event, which is free and open to the public, features empowering speakers, global music and light refreshments. Free parking is available. For more information or to register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/united-nations-international-day-of-the-girl-in-detroit-tickets-71210810451.
Empowered Flower Girl is proud to participate for the second consecutive year. Chief Empowering Officer Rasheda Kamaria Williams will be among the speakers during the event.

Detroit area teens, women tell their “Girl Story”

Girls are powerful and have the potential to change the world. But sometimes they face challenges along their journey.

On Saturday, Oct. 12 – just a day after the observance of International Day of the Girl – Cinema Detroit (located at 4126 Third Street in Detroit) will host a screening of the “My Girl Story” documentary followed by a community forum. The documentary chronicles the lives of two African-American girls in Detroit who give a glimpse into what life is like for 21st century teens in the city.

The “My Girl Story” community forum will focus on empowering and increasing opportunities for girls of color and their peers who are coping with disabilities, depression, peer pressure and other social challenges. The forum will bring together a range of stakeholders from the academic, private, government and philanthropic sectors to discuss ways that we can break down barriers to success and create more ladders of understanding and opportunity for all girls.

“We need to listen to our young women when they talk, especially if something is bothering them,” said Tameka Citchen-Spruce, “My Girl Story” producer and disability justice advocate. “While they’re going through ups and downs in life, being there emotionally and showing you care can help them through the teenage years.”

Tickets to the event are FREE but registration is required via Eventbrite.

Empowered Flower Girl is proud to have facilitated the Chica Chat workshop featured in the documentary. Chief Empowering Officer Rasheda Kamaria Williams will be among the panelists during the community forum.

 

 

Excluded to emPOWERed: How to help young people who’ve experienced bullying

Do you know a young person who has been a victim of bullying? Chances are you do, even if they’ve never reported it.  In the United States, 1 in 5 students ages 12-18 has been bullied during the school year according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

Founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center,  the observance/campaign aims to unite communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention.

Often young people don’t report bullying for fear of retaliation or more aggressive harassment.

In seventh grade, I was harassed and teased daily.  The constant bullying was almost unbearable. I was alienated and excluded. Like many tweens and teens, it took months for me to build the courage to speak up for myself and report the taunting.

I confided in a trusted adult – my English teacher – and that changed my life.

You can be the change for young people.

Bullies and their victims have something in common – they both are dealing with some sort of pain. They both need someone to listen to their challenges, struggles, aspirations and hopes. Listening can empower victims and transform perpetrators.

It is up to us – the village – to empower young people to speak up. We must listen without judgment, avoid victim blame and shame and be willing to advocate for them.

Knowledge is power and the more you know about bullying prevention, the more equipped you’ll be to support and empower the young people in your life.

Signs a child is being bullied from Stopbullying.gov (partial list):

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school

For the full list of warning signs, visit https://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/warning-signs.

Rasheda Kamaria Williams is an award-winning mentor, motivational speaker, author and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl. Check out a clip from her Bullying Prevention Month talk entitled “Excluded to EmPOWERed.”

Back to School Series: How to inspire an emPOWERed school year

Educators and parents, mentors and coaches all care about the wellbeing and livelihood of young people in our communities.  We are well aware that twenty-first century tweens and teens face unprecedented challenges that many of us may have never imagined, from cyberbullying, drama, trauma and immense societal pressure. 

 But to combat these challenges, I was inspired to do something.

Nearly 15 years ago, I was a mentor and youth advocate who wanted to do something to make a difference for middle and high school students – who like me – were teased, bullied and ostracized by classmates and even relatives.

In 2010, I launched Empowered Flower Girl. Since we started, we’ve been on a mission to transform the way young people relate to one another. Through workshops and programs that address and combat cyberbullying, relational aggression and other social/communications challenges facing youth, we work to empower the next generation of leaders.

So as students prepare for a new school year, we want to remind the adults in their lives of the importance of collaboration aka the Village approach.

It takes parents, educators, community members and youth themselves to truly make a difference.

Let’s work together to ensure that every young person has a successful and safe school year!

Defeating Bullying One Conversation at a Time

Bullying and digital harassment are pervasive in schools and communities around the globe. We all know this. But what are we doing collectively to address and prevent it? Our friends over at Defeat the Label are bringing together students, parents, educators and youth advocates to discuss strategies that produce solutions. And it all begins with a conversation.

On Oct. 26, the organization will host its 3rd annual Community Conversation on Bullying at the Oakland Community Schools Conference Center in Waterford, Michigan. In addition to conversations, the event includes workshops on topics ranging from mental health and relational aggression (girl bullying) to social media and empathy in early childhood.

Empowered Flower Girl’s Rasheda Kamaria Williams will discuss the impact of popular media on girls’ relationship realities and how the adults in their lives can transforms the way they relate to one another during the Mentoring Girls and Inspiring Sisterhood workshop.

Admission to the conference is $25. Learn more and RSVP by visiting defeatthelabel.com.

Empowered Flower Girl focuses on partnerships, community collaboration for 2018/19 school year and beyond

Empowered Flower Girl (EFG), a social enterprise dedicated to transforming the way young people relate to one another, is evolving and expanding its mission. The company will focus its resources toward building partnerships and fostering collaborations with education and community organizations throughout the U.S.

Rasheda Kamaria Williams, founder and chief empowering officer, says that EFG will continue offering workshops and programs in schools but will expand in the area of consulting.

With more than 15 years of community relations, strategic communications and project management experience, Williams understands that many organizations and institutions need support resources.

“Collaboration is key to transforming our communities,” Williams says. “When we combine our talents and work together toward empowering youth and families, we can have a greater impact.”

Founded in 2010, by mentor and author Rasheda Kamaria Williams, Empowered Flower Girl offers programs that combat bullying, drama and other social/communications challenges facing youth. The company has facilitated workshops and hosted events reaching nearly 4,000 youth and adults across Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

For more information, visit www.empoweredflowergirl.com.

Be a mentor in 2018

If you’ve resolved to make a difference or dedicate your time to worthy causes in the new year, I encourage you to consider mentoring.

You may have thought about it in the past but weren’t sure if you’d have the time or qualifications. But chances are – you do!

January is National Mentoring Month – a time for individuals and organizations across the country to bring awareness to the need for caring adults to serve as role models for youth.

I’ve been inspired to mentor for the past 16 years. While I have no biological children, I am dedicated to positively impacting the young people in my family and in my community.

According to MENTOR, the national mentoring partnership, 1 out of 3 children will grow up without a mentor.

There are many benefits for children and teens matched with mentors. These young people are less likely to engage in risky behaviors and activities such as truancy, drugs and gangs. They also are more likely to graduate high school and attend college.

Consider this.

It only takes a few hours a month of face time and a phone call a week to help increase a child’s self-esteem. In addition to the mentee’s development, the mentor benefits in many ways. My mentees have helped me aspire higher in my career and in life. And knowing that they’re looking up to me, keeps me living in integrity.

Still not sure about mentoring?

Visit www.rashedakamaria.com to download your copy of my FREE mentoring guide. 

Rasheda Kamaria Williams is an award-winning mentor, author and chief empowering officer for Empowered Flower Girl LLC. Check out her TEDx talk to learn how mentoring makes a difference. 

Cheers to Stevenson High School!

The Stevenson High School cheer team got a visit from Empowered Flower Girl founder and author Rasheda Kamaria Williams on October 16 during National Bullying Prevention Month.

Mrs. Diana Langlois, a member of Soroptimist International of Grosse Pointe, a volunteer service organization, purchased copies of the book “Be EmPOWERed: How to Live Above & Beyond Life’s Drama” for each girl. Diana’s daughter, Robbie, coaches the team which is made up of 22 ambitious and dedicated cheerleaders.

The girls had been reading the book since the beginning of the semester. To reward the team for their recent successes and to encourage them to keep up the good work, Diana coordinated the visit.

Schedule a “Be EmPOWERed” book talk for your school, organization or house of worship. Empowered Flower Girl offers a special rate for nonprofits that order 20+ books.

Does New Anti-Sexting Legislation Criminalize Kids?

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R.1761, also known as the “Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017,” which builds on current law that makes teen-to-teen sexting a crime.

This new legislation supposedly aims to close “loopholes” in current child pornography legislation. But a recent Forbes.com article revealed that the bill could have teens facing 15 years for trying to sext. Second-time offenders would be fined and imprisoned for up to 50 years.

While it is important to protect our children from predators and those seeking to exploit them, it is also important that we communicate with children the consequences of sharing inappropriate or sexual content. Criminalizing them isn’t the answer.

While the legislation was supported by many in congress, it was opposed by dozens of others, including Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime. Lee, in the article, called the bill “deadly and counterproductive,” and commented during a House debate over the issue, “While the bill is well intended, it is overbroad in scope and will punish the very people it indicates it is designed to protect: our children…”

Learn more about the legislation here.