Embracelets given out as anti-bullying resolution

SBG (Student Body Government) President Colin Whited kicked off the Embracelet event in the Jordan Student Academic Center’s MPR (Multi-Purpose Room) by offering a few introductory words. Several presenters representing different parts of the Gallaudet community followed Whited.

First up was Provost Stephen Weiner, who told a story about a boy named Abe, explaining to the audience present that “whether intentional or not, bullying is bullying.” Abe, while still a child, endured terrible bullying but eventually grew up to play Level 4A high school football.  The difference, Weiner told us, was that “he did not become a bully, he refused.”

Within Abe’s story, the crucial point of the Embracelet shone throughout the event. The Embracelet, a small silicone bracelet, is to be worn to not only discourage bullying, but to encourage embracing and accepting everybody’s differences. Weiner closed his speech by stating that their challenge was to acknowledge that by “wear[ing] a bracelet, you commit to changing this place for the better.”

Alyssa Romano, president of the Rainbow Society, took the stage after him. She spoke about the visibility necessary to encourage equality, explaining a part of the reason behind the Embracelet’s commission. She told the audience about a friend of hers who had initially disagreed with the concept of homosexuality, but over time the friend bought a Rainbow Society shirt, seemingly reversing her position.

The president of another organization, Teraca Florence of Black Deaf Student Union, gave her speech onstage after Romano. Florence explained that everybody might be of different cultures, but that they shared the same humanity, and then asked the audience a vital question. “If we deny acceptance of their different cultures, are we human?”

Tony Tatum, a member of the basketball team and a representative of the new signers on campus, was the next presenter. Tatum said that growing up, “I always felt like I was the only person in the world who was hard of hearing… I couldn’t believe I never knew there were other people like me.” Tatum emphasized that we must find a way to communicate with others, using his personal growth as proof.

The last speaker of the workshop was Seth Gore, a fifth year student. Gore talked about how he had sat next to another student during the filming of the Gallaudet promotional video, initially expecting the film to be over in a couple of takes. But as the filming continued, he found himself talking to the other student, who was entirely different from him, and as the filming ended, he found himself with a new friend. Gore said “acknowledgement plays a very important part in this community,” and that it could be found in things as simple as waving to one another in the hallway.

Colin Whited gave a final reminder to the audience that tolerance must overcome bullying, and that by wearing the Embracelet “you are giving out a message without saying anything.”

Embracelets can be picked up from the SBG office, or from Josh Swiller.

Photo credit: Noel King

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