By Tisha Marina
What we model as a hoop community is a powerful statement. We can gather at a hoop jam, all ages, sizes and colors and get along. We can travel the world “couch surfing” with hoopers. Having the hoop in common is simply enough to love each other from the start. We model what is possible for others in a classroom and on the playground.
And yet, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people in the United States. Every day in America, 160,000 students stay home because they are too scared to got to school. In Mexico City in 2010, 109 kids took their lives to stop the bullying. While the countries and numbers go on and on, these statistics are just representations on how bullying is a world-wide epidemic. Bullying is not just a school and family problem, it is a community problem. That is why I’m presenting a call for all my fellow global citizens in the hooping community to put a stop to bullying within our community and throughout the world. As a professional hoop dancer, as well as a Bully Prevention Specialist and youth advocate, I invite you to join me and World Hoop Day in educating and raising awareness for World Hoop Day 2012. I would like to invite you to join us in a call to action to prevent and end bullying once and for all.
In the last few years I have been in over 88 schools across the country leading bully prevention workshops. What I have seen on this journey, as an educator, is scary. It is life changing and it has made it too hard for me to look the other way. That’s why I am on a mission and throughout this time and experience, I have learned solutions needed to create safe schools for our kids. They are low cost and highly effective. There is no acceptable reason whatsoever that our children should fear for their lives when going to school and be taking their own lives.
I have seen personal transformation take place in my anti-bully hoop workshops, watching bullies and their victims let down the walls of those dynamics for a few minutes as they “play” together. It is strong evidence of a powerful tool for peace when a hula hoop can bring down the hard exterior children must wear just to survive these days. For a few minutes, it gives them back their childhood, a childhood they may have missed even though they are still children. One simple way we can do that is to ensure the Safe Schools Improvement Act (S.506 and H.R. 1648) passes and your signature on this petition.
Beyond that, the positive energy cultivated by World Hoop Day can do more in 2012 than just give a kid a hoop, we can teach a kid to love. Doing so is bound to bring love and peace into the hearts of our children, giving them a reason to keep on living. Together, we can use this special day in our community to raise awareness about the bullying epidemic in our local communities, which ultimately serves the whole world. On 12/12/12, World Hoop Day in 2012, we invite you to join us standing in solidarity for peace. Peace for our children, peace for our families, peace for our schools, peace for our communities, peace for the world.
For the last several months I have mailed letters once a week to President Barack Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Lady Gaga (an active anti-bully supporter) and many other important decision makers. In an effort to bring greater peace to our kids and to our world through hooping, it is my personal intention to spend World Hoop Day 2012 hooping on the White House lawn. If we were not only able to educate our local communities, but create a focal point for our message, just imagine how we will shake up the consciousness of the world. 2012 is when we can bring it like nothing they have ever seen before. We all have the opportunity to be a part of history my fellow hoopers.
It was Mother Teresa who once said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” For World Hoop Day 2012 join us in reminding the world of this very fact.