I previously blogged about an Anti-Bullying held on March 31st, 2012 that I attended in San Diego. The workshop was sponsored by Voices of Women and was for the local Somali community. The latter half of the panel included a community member and the local Police. The first presenter was Ramla Sahid, community organizer. Yes, I smiled when I heard this descriptor and after hearing her presentation I was so impressed. Did I share that she’s also a SDSU alum?! Yes, she is. This young woman is working for social change. “We are accountable to one another.” Hearing her say this was important. She was reminding the mothers and daughters in attendance. Yes, the audience was predominantly sex segregated and I will speak to this later. She also gave a polite yet scathing commentary on how the tough on crime legislation and policies in California were counter-productive.
The other speakers were two police officers: one Lieutenant and one Detective. I am not using their names–both of them work in the community and I will leave it at that. The two really spoke to the intricacies of the laws regarding bullying and harassment. There were a few moments when I wondered if the presentation was right for this audience, but nonetheless their presentation was good. I also was at times fascinated by their guns. The guns looked out of place–I know that they were on duty, but after years in Canada I am not as used to seeing lots of guns around. (Humor). The officers noted that if bullying begins in primary school it only worsens in junior high and high school, so it’s important that we respond.
“Respect is universal.” Lots of head nodded when the Lieutenant made this statement. Farah noted that we need to get the men involved and that they need men only workshops. I am not sure if I agree, but then again I am not taking into the cultural considerations. Perhaps he is on to something and these male only workshops can also speak to the importance of fatherhood. More workshops is definitely something work thinking of given the proliferation of bullying and need to curb it in schools.
When the question and answer period took place Agin Shaheed noted that we must get the fathers involved. There were only mothers in attendance. He also noted that across the US 87% of teachers are women. (Is this why we keep on hearing the press and experts pick on teachers? Is there bullying against teachers because this is still viewed as women’s work? Maybe that is another post).