- Posted September 1, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Anti-Bullying Play Seeks to Give a Raw Look into the Lives of the Bullied Why Can’t We Be Friends?
This year U.S. Sen. Bob Casey was moved to create and introduce the Safe Schools Improvement Act, an anti-bullying bill created to combat the increasing presence of bullying in Pennsylvania and on August 30th and 31st, the stage play entitled, “Why Can’t We Be Friends” ~ an Anti Bullying Initiative was showcased at St. Raymond of Penafort Catholic School in Philadelphia, PA. This play was inspired by Christopher Hopson’s (a 7th grader at St. Raymond School) book, "I Believe in Me" and written by his mother Charron Monaye and directed by Darnell Richardson.
This powerful play examined the mental and emotional affects that bullying has on children, starring ~ Ricky: Christopher Hopson; Yvonne: Monica Skinner; Keith: Trae; Amir: Cameron; Ms. Scott: L'Tanya Morrow-Cain; Mr. Davis: Brett Roman Williams; Ms. Roberts: Diane Redd; Joy: Kaila L. Barnes; & Ms. Hicks: Tamara Woods.
This show was opened by Dr. Claudio V. Cerullo of Teach Anti-Bullying Inc., which is an organization that works to raise awareness and support, while encouraging the collaboration of all stakeholders – children, educators, parents, community leaders, law enforcement, and local, state and federal legislators – in the pro-active intervention against bullying as well as the prevention of bullying, who gave real facts, real stores, and statistics on bullying, violence, and abuse in our society. He gave valuable information that not only educated our parents, but showed our youth what their actions and/or reactions can do and how important it is to stomp out against bullying as a community. He showed a video giving our audience the reality of how bullying has been the contributing factor to many suicidal deaths among our youth. This segment really made people understand the importance of this issue.
After Dr. Cerullo spoke, the play opened up with a young kid named Ricky who was constantly being picked on, tormented, and ridiculed by two bullies, Amir and Keith. Ricky’s friend Yvonne tried to encourage, protect, and be a friend to Ricky but ended up becoming a victim of bullying because of her association to Ricky. Ms. Scott, the homeroom teachers, ignores Ricky’s cries for help and instead she tells him to get “tough skin” or “Don’t snitch” when she hears the other kids picking on him or responds to him telling on Amir and Keith. But after Keith tells Ricky, “You can’t beat me and Mr. Davis can’t stop me. So I will pick on you until I am tired, you ugly little boy. I don’t like you! Your mom should have never had you!,” there was nothing his mother Ms. Roberts or his sister Joy could do to save Ricky. With anger, fear, and the need to help for her son, Ms. Roberts goes to the school and speaks to Mr. Davis, the math teacher, about the bullying her son is enduring. Ricky soon learns that he is not alone because Mr. Davis was bullied too when he was in school. While Ricky was being encouraged to keep fighting and believing in himself, Keith was being educated on his role as a bully by his mother Ms. Hicks who was informed that her son was bullying kids in school. Mr. Davis and Ms. Scott decided to hold a class on bullying and the rest was history.
Along with the play, we enjoyed dance performance by The St. Raymond Drama Club led by Deeadra Idokogi, Darnell Richardson of DRP Productions, and Philadelphia's own DivaDollz and Co.
This show is a must see by all schools and youth. Will you be apart of the problem or help find a solution so our youth can be safe. Why Can't We Be Friends was excellent, "A Play By The Youth, For The Youth"
"My sister and I enjoyed it very much. I appreciate you sending me the previous emails informing me of the play. Please tell Chris that I'm very proud of him, and that I think he did a great job. Thank you for reminding me of how important it is to recognize the signs of bullying." ~ Jennifer McLaughlin (6th Teacher at St. Raymond School)
“It’s a very important message that should be seen by as many people as possible especially school age people. Just maybe thinking can be changed and make school better for everyone. A kid shouldn't have to go to school scared.” ~ Jim Thorpe
“Thank you for a fantastic show. Please continue doing great things. My daughter learned some new information and she will share it with all.” ~ Lynada N. Truesdale-Harmon
"Charron, I thank you again for such a great experience. Thou a cast member, I listened intensely to the guess speaker and realized there was a lot of things that I didn't know and a lot to be learned about bullying. I will now be more aware and more alert to the signs of bullying than ever before. I learned a valuable lesson along with the children. Thank you for getting the message out." ~ Diane Redd (cast member of the production)
To learn more about this production or how you can bring it to your school or community center, please visit Charron Monaye’s website, www.penlegacy.com.
Photos are the property and taken by 3rd Eye Images.