The Humanity Project believes that for people to get respect, they first must give respect. Always, in every situation, unconditionally. That doesn’t mean being weak. It means treating every human being as just that: a human being.
We teach this to our kids as well as to parents busy raising their own children. And it applies in the schools, online, on the roads. Everywhere.
On November 16, our Humanity Club at Morrow Elementary School in North Lauderdale, Florida demonstrated for nearly 400 of their classmates, grades K - 5, what respect really means. It was a huge success! Through interactive exercises, skits, music, videos and more, our amazing group of 10 Humanity Club all-girl student leaders marked the path toward a more respectful learning environment. Their classmates were receptive and now many of them will take part in ongoing art projects and contests focused on respect — even a Garden of Respect that the Humanity Project will build for the school with students closely involved in both planning and execution. That garden will be funded in part by a new grant from Children’s Services Council of Broward County and we’ll tell you more about it next month.
That same day, the Humanity Project also led a Text-4-RESPECT campaign, with students at Morrow and other schools as well as nonprofit partners texting #respect at noon local time. This was intended as a follow up to the morning Humanity Club program … and as a tribute to the great Aretha Franklin, who passed away in August. In Detroit, Ms. Franklin’s church where she began singing (and her father was longtime preacher) even joined the event. As did nonprofits and individuals from as far away as Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, New Jersey and many other spots.
All this took place on the 10th anniversary of the day when the Humanity Project led the Thousand Youth March for Humanity: November 16, 2008. That was the nation’s first mass children’s march against bullying with more than 2,100 participants. And it’s the reason the week of November 16 each year is antibullying week in Broward County Public Schools, the sixth largest school district in the United States.
Yes, we do believe that to get respect, we must each give respect. It’s encouraging that so many of our young students agree, don’t you think?