WWE Be A Star
Bullying is a never-ending epidemic that is affecting thousands of students in America every day. Non-violent and violent instances are reported daily from elementary schools students to the high school level. There is no definite solution to end bullying, but different organizations have developed anti-bullying campaigns to promote positivity and inclusiveness amongst the youth.
The WWE and the Creative Coalition developed WWE Be A Star, a campaign whose mission is to ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness. (1)
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference partnered with the WWE during the 2012 MAAC Basketball Championships to promote anti-bullying. As a part of the MAAC Bus Brigade, students where bused to the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts for the Women’s Championship game on Monday, March 5. Before entering the arena for the championship games, WWE Star David Otunga talked to the students about bullying.
Otunga, 6’0, hulking, muscular figure, gave personal experiences in which he was bullied throughout his childhood. When looking at his frame, you instantly think that there is no way this guy could ever have ever experienced bullying. He’s tall, has light gray eyes, and looks like he could bench press 500lbs easily. But when listening to his story, I could not help but relate to his experiences. He wore thick glasses throughout school, he was skinnier than everyone else, and he was smarter than most in his class, which made him an easy target for his peers.
He told stories about always getting teased because he was different. Otunga decided to talk to his teacher about the bullying that was occurring each day and his teacher brought the students together. Most of the students that were making Otunga’s experience a nightmare, didn’t even know that it was affecting him. They had no idea that he was going home every night upset thinking about what they had say or done.
As I looked at each student in the audience, I could tell that they could relate to what Otunga was saying. Whether they were the aggressor in the situation or if they were the student being verbally or physically attacked, it appeared the students seemed to get the message he was trying to relay.
Before Otunga ended his speech, he asked that each student take the Be a Star Pledge. The pledge reads:
I pledge to -
· Help others who have experienced bullying or are experiencing bullying by contacting an adult, the authorities, or intervening.
· Listen carefully to anyone who seeks my help- and act on their behalf to put an immediate stop to the bullying.
· Work with others including caring adults, students and friends to create a bully-free environment for everyone.
Overall, having David Otunga speak was invaluable experience for all in attendance. Yeah it’s true, bullying is growing, but so are anti-bullying programs like the WWE Be a Star program. The MAAC was honored to partner with the WWE with such a worthwhile message to the students of Springfield.