Face of Diversity
Walking through the middle school cafeteria, I moved quickly and with purpose so as to be invisible. The bullying had been going on for several years, so being invisible was an art form I acquired for self-preservation. I found a seat at the end of a long table, but within seconds the air became negatively charged. A voice from halfway down the bench whispered: “Oh no, we can’t sit with her; everyone has to move now.” The Queen Bee had spoken and the subjects obeyed. One after another, my peers seated on the bench stood and moved their trays to the far gray table. The entire cafeteria experience was executed like a military op. No one spoke. Flushed with humiliation, I could feel my heart beating outside of my chest.
I was not the only student that endured this isolation. There was a boy in the Queen Bee’s group of friends who also experienced the effects of her malignant “leadership.” One day during lunch when he was already seated at her table, she approached and crowed: “Wouldn’t it just be hilarious if no one sat with him? Don’t anyone sit there.” Shocked that she would abuse one of her own, I sat, motionless—somewhere between not wanting to be noticed and not wanting to be silent. After they all moved to another table, he hung his head and I realized that I missed an opportunity to have impact and help a student who now suffered the same kind of harassment that I had. Since that day of silence in the cafeteria, I realized that inaction is a very powerful form of action. I would never be silent again.”
I was chosen to be the Face of Diversity because each face of diversity has a story, and this is my story. Crafting the sixth face of diversity on site at Statesville high school provided a tremendous opportunity to bring awareness to bullying prevention and the need for respect of diversity. This project impacted the climate of my school! Everyone loved the project and enjoyed being a part of it. The school environment is more friendly and positive as a result.