Concerned and impassioned individuals packed Alvarado Room AB Saturday, eager to learn about tools they can use to combat bullying and harassment and make a difference in their communities.
Beyond 2016, a program aiming to address the concerns of minority groups following the 2016 election results was held at the Titan Student Union (TSU).
“I think the information is new for a lot of people. They never really knew the distinction between bullying and harassment and what a hate crime was and what hate incident was,” said Yasmin Ibrahim, project manager for Beyond 2016 and MiNDS, a family centered organization based in Orange County.
The program offered anti-bullying and harassment training by mental health professionals, legal experts and community members. The training included how to avoid bullies, what you can do if you’re being bullied or harassed and how to respond to hate crimes.
Beyond 2016 was co-sponsored by the Democrats of North Orange County and the CSUF Democrats.
K-12 and college students have had the most hate incidents following the 2016 election, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The program recognizes that hate incidents can also occur in the workplace, therefore the program reached out to both parents and students alike to have a lasting outcome.
“It was very eye-opening for a lot of people. The increase in these incidents is making people more wary of what’s happening or going on with people that they are interacting with on a daily basis,” Ibrahim said.
Following the training, the attendees broke out into groups to address their frustrations and to discuss issues like illegal immigration and police brutality.
Some of the discussion topics included what it means to be an ally and some practical ways to act as an ally, what you can do differently to better manage and overcome obstacles, how to address inequality in the workplace or school setting and how to ensure that the solutions to many of these issues include the people who are directly impacted and do not just reflect the views and experiences of the privileged and powerful.
Cal State Fullerton student Amy Santos heard about Beyond 2016 through her internship with Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, a community facility based in Fullerton.
“The information that was given was very informative. There is a lot of unknown and uncertainty, especially working in a community where it is predominately Latino. There is a lot of anxiety so it is important for us, as the ones that are getting an education, that have access to these resources to bring it back,” Santos said.
The attendees left with tools to combat bullying and harassment as well as referrals and access to legal experts and advocacy groups.
The next meeting will be hosted by Emmanuel Episcopal at the Church of Fullerton Feb. 25th at 2 p.m.
“Just having people here to learn this information means people genuinely care about what’s happening in their community and want to make an impact,” Ibrahim said.