- Posted May 16, 2014 by
12 Year Old, Christopher Hopson, Taking A Stand Against Bullying!!!!
For the calendar year of 2013, 77% of American students are bullied mentally, verbally, & physically; 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied; and 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month. On any given day kids are being bullied in classrooms, via social media, and on electronic devices (texts, pictures, etc.), which are causing kids to commit suicide, become depressed, lash out in violence, or drop out of school all together.
I can remember, back in the day, being bullied, picked on, teased, and laughed at for being a nerd, for being the shortest girl in the class, for not wearing the hottest trends and fashions, but it was ignored and I fought my way through with self-confidence, self-esteem, or with my hands. We did not have bullying advocate, anti-bullying curriculum, and incidents were not announced on evening news. Back in the day, bullying was common and dealt with in such a manner that made kids stronger and it was never a major concern because people just chalked it up as “Kids will be Kids”. However, in today’s society, bullying has changed its appearance and it has raised major concerns for parents, schools, political leaders, cable networks and government. States such as Wisconsin, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Washington D.C., are raising awareness and creating harsher punishments for offenders as young as 5 years old.
For example, In California City, “city council just passed a new law that will go into effect June 12, 2014, which is aimed at persons, who cause anyone (from age 5 to age 25) to feel terrorized, harassed or threatened with no legitimate purpose. It also covers cyberbullying. First-time offenders could be fined $100, a second infraction would cost $200, and a third-time offense could bring a criminal misdemeanor charge. Adults charged with bullying could receive an infraction or misdemeanor and possible jail time.” (Fox News, 2014)
Bullying is truly affecting our communities differently, and many people are joining forces to decrease the violence, including 12 year old Christopher Hopson. When Christopher was 9, he was bullied, endured being teased, hit, and called names. With the name-calling and embarrassment, he decided to write a book entitled “I Believe in Me” to show other kids that they were not alone and how to overcome being bullied. Then at the age of 12 years old, Christopher along with playwright Charron Monaye, took his story and his book, and penned the stage play, “Why Can’t We Be Friends”. "Why Can't We Be Friends" is a stage play which examines the mental and emotional affects that bullying has on children. The mission of the "Why Can't We Be Friends" stage play is to raise awareness of the prevalence of bullying in schools globally while drawing awareness to decrease its impact amongst students. The campaign's main focus is to shed light on the epidemic and end bullying for good. To help Christopher bring this play to life, via theater, he is sharing the stage with cast members; Monica Skinner, Diane Redd, L’Tanya Morrow-Cain, Brett Roman Williams, Cameron Anderson, Kaila Barnes, Trae Mclean, Tamara Woods, and Cassie Gainey.
This stage play premiered at St. Raymond Catholic School in Philadelphia, PA for 2 Sold Out Shows on August 30 and August 31, 2013. This year, with the help from the DC Black Theatre Festival and Executive Director Glenn Alan, Christopher is bringing this production to Washington DC on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 2:00pm at the Sitar Arts Center 1700 Kalorama Road NW Washington DC 20009.
For his Anti-Bullying efforts, Christopher Hopson has received letters from Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama and a citation from PA State Representative Cherelle Parker. As you can see, Christopher, is not only taking a stand against bullying he is using theater to educate the community on bullying and encouraging bullies to show love, not hate. “Even though, Bullying is nothing new to many, we need to help save the lives the many, as the new trends continue to deadly harm to my generation and the kids to follow”, says Christopher.
Tickets for this production are $15.00 and they can be purchased at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/why-cant-we-be-friends-tickets-11468732287
Special Thanks to our Sponsors: Pen Legacy Productions Diamondnique Productions, Krystol Diggs, The Collington Family, Philamena McGowan, and Andre Gordy