What follows is a speech made this morning by Brian Cockman at the Statesville High School – Faces of Diversity unveil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good morning everyone. My name is Brian Cockman and I am president of Rooster Communications, a PR agency based in Charlotte, and the co-creator of Faces of Diversity. When artist Edwin Gil and I set out to create an anti-bullying project that used art as way to communicate and celebrate differences, we wanted to show how treating someone with respect and dignity – regardless of what they wear, how they talk, where they live, or how they live their life – is at the core of what it means to be human.
Today, the students of Statesville High School become a part of an international anti-bullying project and join 7,000 others who have already placed their thumbprints on a Face of Diversity to say NO to bullying.
Students, by placing your thumbprint on the piece of artwork behind me, you have made a pledge to take a stand against bullying. You have made a pledge to be kind to your peers. You have made a pledge to intervene when you see someone being bullied. You have a made a pledge to live a life of dignity.
Your commitment to living a life a dignity and treating other with kindness may seem hard to define, so let me give you some wise words from one of my favorite authors and poets, and NC native, Maya Angelou. She says, quote:
Dignity—the word itself—has come to mean different things to different people, as many words do. It doesn’t just mean always being stiff and composed. It means a belief in oneself, that one is worthy of the best. Dignity means that what I have to say is important, and I will say it when it’s important for me to say it. Dignity really means that I deserve the best treatment I can receive. And that I have the responsibility to give the best treatment I can to other people. End quote.
So today, I challenge the students of Statesville High School, parents, teachers, and administrators to live a life full of dignity. You can influence how others feel by your words and actions. Never forget that.
I’d also like to end with a special thank you to Superintendent Johnson, Louise McLain, Principal Garriot Rose, freshman Jennifer McLain, and of course, all the students at Statesville High School for their support of Edwin and Faces of Diversity. You all should be very proud of your school community.