Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Congressional Caucus Begins National Dialogue Around Bullying

Later today, members of the newly formed Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus (CABC) will launch their efforts to address the issue of bullying nationwide. Their Caucus Launch Event will include a press conference, a round table discussion, and an evening reception that will kick off this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. EST at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Over 30 Representatives are currently members of the Caucus. Chaired by Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), the CABC will be a premier forum for individuals and advocates from private sector organizations and non-profit agencies to proactively respond to issues of bullying—both offline and online. This bipartisan caucus aims to provide educators, students, and everyday individuals, along with Members of Congress, with the tools and knowledge to not only address incidents of bullying effectively but to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

The round table discussion will consist of three panels. The first, moderated by PFLAG National’s very own Executive Director, Jody Huckaby, will provide an overview on bullying behavior and power dynamics. The second, moderated by Eliza Byard, Executive Director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), will discuss the roles and responsibilities of adults in preventing bullying. And finally, the third panel, moderated by Rep. Mike Honda himself, will look towards the future with the hope of finding tangible ways to eradicate bullying once and for all. The round table will then be followed by an evening reception and a screening of the film Bully, which profiles the lives of several young teenagers and their families as well as their intimate experiences with bullying.

The importance of hosting such a caucus can be seen in the Chairman’s Message on the Caucus’ website. Here, Rep. Honda discusses how: “Every year, millions of Americans are physically or psychologically attacked on the basis of their skin color, ethnicity, physical or mental abilities, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, religion, or age. Addressing the bullying epidemic—in our schools, in the workplace, in assisted-living facilities—is a concern very close to my heart. It is our responsibility as human beings to empower the individuals who are discriminated against, scapegoated, and silenced by society.”

Take Action: As PFLAGers, we all agree with Rep. Honda that bullying is a concern very close to our hearts. Here are steps that you can take: