Grateful for Upstanders

C.S. Lewis said, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”  We agree and know that sometimes the hardest step is doing the right thing when everyone is watching!

So, today we say thank you to the upstanders!  Our heartfelt gratitude to those who aren’t just bystanders witnessing bullying, discrimination, violence, and hatred without acting, but who, instead, take action to stop the ugliness and lift their voices in respect and compassion.

Upstanders take many forms – peers, family members, educators, coaches, and our children and students when and where they can – but there is a special power when someone in the public eye refuses to stand by in the face of actions which are intended to hurt.  To stand up against such behaviors when you know you will be attacked because of your public profile takes a special kind of commitment.

Thank you, Congressman John Garamendi, who, on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, issued an impassioned plea for our presidential candidates to remember that “our children are listening” to their appalling behavior.   Your concerns are echoed in, “The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on our Nation’s Schools,” a report issued by our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center which shows all too clearly the impact of the nasty campaign rhetoric being used by those who purport to lead.


Thank you, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education, who boldly stood up for those who are transgendered and face legislated discrimination in North Carolina and across the country.  Thank you, Bruce Springsteen, PayPal, and Deutsche Bank, for refusing to do business in a state with such a hate-based policy.

Thank you, too, to the American Counseling Association which cancelled its 2017 conference scheduled for Nashville rather than violate their own ethical principles by supporting the economy of a state which recently made it legal for counselors to refuse to work with patients who are LGBTQ.

As Attorney General Loretta Lynch said,

Let us not act out of fear and misunderstanding, but out of the values of inclusion, diversity and regard for all that make our country great.”

Molly McCloskey is the President and CEO of Operation Respect.

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