Florida Mayors join forces to say no to bullies

07/26/2014 12:00 AM

07/23/2014 5:57 PM

Looking back at my growing up days, I can remember how school bullies tried to made life miserable for me and a lot of other youngsters. I remember being followed home one day by a bully who wanted to start a fight. When I kept ignoring her, she soon turned, with her followers and went home. Unlike some of today’s bullies, she didn’t try to hit me. She was just all mouth, spitting out insulting remarks.

It’s different today. Some bullies have pushed their victims to the limit and many have committed suicide. With the opening of school just weeks away, I am happy to tell you about the mayors in our state who have joined forces to support the new initiative to combat bullying in local school districts.

The new partnership is between U.S. Conference of Mayors and The Bully Project. So far, mayors in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Daytona Beach and Fort Myers have joined more than 170 mayors throughout the country who have signed on to the Project, called the Mayors’ Campaign to End Bullying. The purpose is to raise awareness, foster a safe school climate and work with experts from the Bully Project to create customized responses to bullying in their local school districts.

“Public safety is job one for me, and there can be no mistake: bullying is a serious public safety issue,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman in a press release.

“It’s also my job to make sure children and families grow up together in a city of opportunity for all who come to live, work and play.”

Lee Hirsch, the filmmaker behind Bully, and founder of The Bully Project said: “Working with Florida’s mayors, we hope to engage cities and communities across the states in developing a city-specific action plan that draws from research-based initiatives... to move beyond temporary fixes to permanent solutions that will enable children and educators to learn and teach in safe, supportive environments.”

The cities of participating mayors will have access to technical support from a team of education specialists at the University of Illinois in partnership with The Bully Project. These experts will provide participating mayors with advice and research on programmatic approaches to ending bullying.

So far, the list of participating mayors did not mention any from the South Florida area. If our mayors have not become participants, here’s hoping they will soon join this worthwhile effort.

Welcome our international visitors

You are invited to meet the international visitors to our city from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy and Slovenia from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 28 at the Bacardi Americas Headquarters, 2701 Le Jeune Rd. in Coral Gables.

Sponsored by the Miami Council for International Visitors, donation to the the event is $15 per person for members and $30 per person for non-members. To RSVP, email Annette Alvarez at: annette@miamiciv.org.

Founders’ Day celebration at St. James

All Bahamians and those of Bahamian descent are invited to St. James Baptist Church at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sundayas the church celebrates its annual Founder’s Day service and to commemorate its Bahamian connection.

St. James, at 3500 Charles Ave., in Coconut Grove, was established around 1917 and is one of the oldest churches in Miami, said long-time member community activist Reynold Martin.

The speaker for the 11 a.m. service is the Rev. Rupert Rolle from Bimini.

The speaker for the 4 p.m. service will be the Rev. Gus Nesbitt of the Lake Worth Church of God, a ministry founded by Bahamians, Martin said.

“This is Goombay weekend in Coconut Grove,” Martin said. “And it’s typical for us to host Bahamians ministers during the Goombay activities.”

Founders Day is an effort to recognize the church’s beginning as well as its longevity, he said.

The community is invited to both services.

New sanctuary for Mount Tabor

Today at 4 p.m., members of Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist church will march proudly into their new sanctuary at 10500 NW Seventh Ave. for its dedicatory service.

At a date to be named in October, the Rev. Dr. George McRae and the congregation will have a week-long celebration to commemorate moving into their new home.

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