Activism is about caring enough about something to stand up, to organize, to do SOMETHING about what’s wrong (or could be better) in this world. It’s about using your voice, giving voice to others, and forcing some part of society to reconsider the way things are.
And at this point in my life, I don’t think I’m an activist, at least, not in the way I hope to be. But this story isn’t about me; it’s about an activist that inspires me, whose work has convinced me that I can be an activist, that I can make change, and that I absolutely should.
Recently, I watched a film called Bully. Bullying is something that, as a parent, is constantly on my mind. The idea of someone hurting your child, mentally or physically, is every parents greatest fear. This film chronicles a few different lives, from a boy that was an active victim of bullying, to two families who lost children to suicide as a result of bullying. It is painful and heart-wrenching to watch, but also incredibly inspiring. The film director, Lee Hirsch, is everything I believe an activist is.
Lee was a victim of bullying, as he admits in the CNN follow-up to his film, The Bully Effect. Believing that bullying was a serious issue, a plague in the US, he decided to do something about it. He directed a film that sheds light on the ways in which bullying effects every member of our society, and the ways in which the various social systems we interact with are failing our children. But he does more than tell us what the problem is. He proposes a solution. The Bully Project aims to show the film to 1 million students, in an effort to change the progress of bullying. You can read about the project, Lee, and his film here. Lee Hirsch is one man who saw something wrong, and decided to do something about it. He is an activist.