No Name Calling Week
By Liz Martin
January 23rd through January 27th is No Name-Calling Week. Inspired by a young adult novel entitled “The Misfits”, No Name-Calling Week was created by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster publishing. The project focuses on education and awareness of name-calling and bullying and seeks to provide the tools for students and educators to eradicate name-calling in their communities.
No Name-Calling Week was the focus of this week’s one n ten group in Central Phoenix. During the first half of group, volunteers were called for to participate in a dramatization. The volunteers were given pieces of tape with labels on them. They each placed the label on their forehead so the other participants could read it but they could not. The youth were then given a topic to discuss and instructed to interact with each other based on the labels that were taped to their forehead. This exercise was repeated with a second set of labels and groups.
Following the acting exercise was a second activity. A series of statements was read aloud to the group and everyone in the room was asked to stand in response to the statement if it applied to them. Statements such as “I have been called a nerd”, “I have been called ugly” and “I have been beaten up” were posed to the group. The final statements posed to the group were “I have called someone else a name”, “I have called someone else something that I identify as” and “I have stood up for someone who was been bullied”. A majority of the room stood up for both having name-called someone and stood up for someone who was being picked on.
To complete the evening was a group discussion about all of the activities of the evening. Some of the youth commented on the fact that there were people who had been on both sides of bullying and name-calling. Many felt that the first exercise was difficult to watch. Toward the end of the discussion one person commented on the fact that everyone in the room had stood up at least one time, indicating that they had been a victim of name-calling. The activities of the evening sparked a good conversation among everyone who attended that night and increased awareness of the importance of No Name-Calling Week.