Youth & Teen
No Place for Hate® Youth Summit: Bullying Ends Where Education Begins
Saturday, 01 December 2012
ImageFor three years, the Austin Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate® Youth Summit has provided a forum for students and teachers to engage in interactive, experiential, hands-on activities and learn strategies for combating hateful and prejudicial behavior on their school campus and in their communities.

The forum provides an opportunity for students to learn the dangers of bigotry and hatred. Attendees develop post-Summit strategies to increase tolerance on their campuses, which are implemented with the help of their campus sponsors.

Over the course of two days, more than 400 middle school students and educators from 56 schools in the Austin area learned how to recognize bullying on their campuses and were empowered with tools to confront it at the No Place for Hate® Youth Summit October 31 and November 1.

Cristianna Faz, an eighth grader at Covington Middle School, wanted to go to the No Place For Hate® Youth Summit at the Capitol, a place with kids who want to stop hate and violence, where everyone works together to see what they can do to help, because since being bullied in elementary school, the student has wanted to stop bullying and violence.

“My elementary experience with being bullied made me want to forget and hide from the world. One day I stood up for myself and I was no longer the target of the perpetrator, which made me want to stand up for other people who were being tormented and who wanted to hide. Ever since I stood up for myself, I was and still am committed to stopping people from getting hurt emotionally and physically,” Faz said.

The program included students from many different kinds of schools, private and public.

Each teacher and the students from the different schools were split up into groups. They then went to breakout rooms for group activities.

The students learned about everyone who was their group, what their past was, how they live and their culture. Students told stories about experiences with bullying.

“Respect was a big word for us that day, because it meant treating everyone with courtesy and kindness. We shared our opinions on hate and how to prevent it in our schools and communities. The kids said forgiveness was a big part of getting through their problems and it is best not to forget but to face your problems head on,” Faz said.

After the Youth Summit was over students reconnected with others from their schools and talked about what was learned in the groups.

“It was interesting to hear about the other students from my school and what they learned from their groups. A lot of the topics were the same but it was amazing how everyone thought and felt about them differently. Some students felt like crying when stories were shared and some wanted to go and spread what they just learned to everyone. We all did,” Faz said.

Faz explained that since the No Place for Hate® Youth Summit, their school has planned on doing events that support anti-bullying and encourage peace for one another, like a peace tree where everyone can put something that expresses themselves on the tree, religious or not.

“When we got back to school, the next day, we were so excited to tell our other classmates who didn’t get to go about what we learned. Ever since that day at the Youth summit I feel even more inspired to help and I am sure everyone else who went that day feels the same way too,” Faz said.

“I hope that this inspires you to go and help those in need to be lifted up with a little smile and warm company because that is all it takes to make a difference.”

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