On Monday, February 29, the Golden State Warriors teamed up with Adobe and the Not In Our Town anti-bullying campaign to host 300 Bay Area high school students for a Not On Our Ground rally, where students pledged to stop bullying, violence and hate in their schools and communities. Warriors guard and 2015 NBA Champion Shaun Livingston joined the students to share his personal experiences with bullying and addressed the growing issue of violence in our communities and schools.
“It’s important for kids to know they can be themselves, and that it’s OK to have dreams and goals they love and that may not be cool or popular to other kids,” said Livingston. “I hope my voice and the voice of the Golden State Warriors will inspire them to live their life and to give others that same respect.”
The 300 high school students arrived to the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland Monday and were greeted by 106.1 KMEL personalities Miss Kimmie and LadyRay. The two then tipped-off a panel discussion, introducing Livingston, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, Founder of Alive and Free Dr. Joseph Marshall, Not In Our Town Executive Producer Patrice O’Neill, The BULLY Project Founder Lee Hirsch and Adobe Creative Director John Caponi.
“It’s an honor for Adobe to participate in this Not On Our Ground event with Shaun and the Golden State Warriors to really address a growing issue that is affecting our schools and our young people,” said Caponi. “This event is putting the anti-bullying message in the spotlight and hopefully we inspired students to speak up when they see inappropriate actions in their classrooms.”
The panel members spoke from their hearts about personal experiences with violence and bullying, and emphasized the importance of being an upstander who safely intervenes into hate-filled situations.
“Don’t be tempted to say, ‘this is not my problem, not my business,’ because it’s everybody’s business,” said Dr. Marshall. “I don’t believe in, ‘thou shalt not snitch.’ I’m telling all the time.”
The attending students from Philip and Sala Burton, Galileo Academy, Fremont, McClymonds and Skyline High Schools cheered wildly for the Warriors’ Not In Our Ground Public Service Announcement, as Warriors stars and Head Coach Steve Kerr pledged to stand up against bullying, speak up against intolerance and work with neighbors to create safe neighborhoods and environments. The students also posed questions to the panelists, asking how to become involved with anti-bullying efforts outside of school.
“Initiatives like The BULLY Project invites students to discuss why this is a growing and important issue in our communities, and allows them to safely express who they are and what they’re about,” said Hirsch.
After Livingston led the students in taking the “Not On Our Ground” pledge, he and Caponi presented Not In Our Town with a $5,000 donation to continue their work in schools to promote anti-bullying and anti-violence messages. Student representatives from each school then participated in the “Picture the Pledge” competition, delivering artistic interpretations of the pledge to their boisterous peers.
“Having this team that has lit our city on fire stand up with us and be role models for young people is incredibly powerful to their community and these schools,” said O’Neill.
All students at the event received a Not On Our Ground t-shirt, along with an Adobe #NotOnOurGround wristband and a pocket-sized copy of the pledge to take home. Each performing group also received an Adobe Creative Cloud one-year subscription to share with their school, courtesy of Adobe.
“As District Attorney, I see young men and women every day who act as bystanders to bullying and violence, and their tolerance to these behaviors eventually lead them down the wrong path themselves,” said Gascon. “I’m happy to join Not In Our Town and the Warriors to take a stand and show these talented young people today that they can be upstanders who don’t accept intolerance and violence against anyone.”