Monday, July 18, 2011

Young cyberbullying summit panelist: Words can hurt

Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can hurt.

An eight-year-old girl who is wise beyond her years provided this concise, yet powerful sound bite during a cyberbullying summit at the Times Center in Manhattan earlier on Monday, July 18. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance City Councilmembers Robert Jackson and Lew Fidler, Parry Aftab of, New York Times reporter Jan Hoffman and Jason Dzepka of MTV were among those who took part in the event. I honestly had very few expectations going into the Times Center earlier tonight, but the summit quickly evolved into something more than another potential article or blog post I had to write once I arrived home in Bushwick.

As I’ve previously written, some of my middle and high school classmates routinely taunted me about my weight and sexual orientation. More than a decade later, I continue to enjoy the life I have chosen to live. Periodic feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that undoubtedly stem from my experiences in middle and high school, however, continue to linger to this day.

Bullies are nothing more than cowards. Their “short-term action” can have “a long-term effect” as Joshua correctly pointed out during one panel. And I remain among those who continue to come to terms with this aftermath long after it ended.

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