I was just reading about a guy who, now 20, was mercilessly harassed when he was in school. The school did nothing about the six years of suffering he endured. Not only did his district fail to take steps to curb the harassment, officials actually discouraged him from reporting misconduct. And – for the record – we're not talking about small stuff here. Apparently, "stupid nigger" and other derogatory insults were regularly lobbed his way. Additionally, he routinely had food thrown on him and was spit on. All in school. In public. With witnesses.
As if that's not rough enough, a public website was created with the sole intent of making his life miserable. At one point, a court intervened when, on the website, another student threatened to lynch him. Astoundingly, his school and district looked the other way when he suffered retaliatory harassment because of the court's involvement.
It should come as no surprise that Russell Dickerson has a lot of healing to do. Severe depression is just one of the hurdles he is working to overcome.
Despite that, he has said, “I learned from my parents that you should never give up. You should fight for your rights – you don’t just walk away.”
We can all learn something from that.
We – like so many other people – know what it's like to be on the receiving end of extreme hate. It's our responsibility as co-world citizens to do something – to fight for our rights and the rights of others who are marginalized.
Do not stand by when someone is mistreated. Demand justice and, most importantly, offer a kind word to the victim.
When one person suffers, we all suffer.
With that, we're off to spread some love this Valentine's Day. Join us and do the same!