This Election Cycle, We Need Spirit Day Now More Than Ever
As a mom, on Spirit Day, my thoughts can’t help but go directly to my daughters. They are 12 and 9 years old and bursting toward tomorrow with the energy and curiosity of the world that holds them. It’s a tough gig to be a kid these days and I can’t help but think that it has been made harder in many respects by the election cycle. The trickle down dynamics of the election have been more than unprecedented; they are harmful. When a presidential hopeful is not embracing the rich diversity of our country, but is instead degrading women, immigrants, people with disabilities, veterans and people of color, it sets a dangerous tone for the country.
As leaders, as mentors, and adults, we need to remember that our children are listening and learning about democracy as we exercise our right to vote and elect our next president. It’s dangerous to listen to people downplay predatory behavior as “locker room banter” or “boy talk,” as if even in a gym or locker room it would be acceptable to joke about grabbing a woman. At the very least it is bullying and worse, it is sexual assault.
On a reflective day, like today, we need to take pause and remember that individually we have a responsibility to model behavior that is conducive to a gentler world free of hate speech, violence and bullying. We need to celebrate diversity in a way that makes everyone feel welcomed and valued, because collectively our differences enrich our experiences. As a country, we need to find joy in our likeness and be respectful of our differences. On Spirit Day, we wear purple to stand in solidarity with all those that have experienced bullying. It’s time to reject the nonsensical and unkind behaviors that we have seen as of late and vow to lead by example, with kindness and gratitude for the uniqueness that each of us bring to the table.
By Julie Childs, Special Assistant to the Executive Director