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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

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.

Faces of Diversity Logo

SEPTEMBER 10, 2013



Brian Cockman

Faces of Diversity Co-Creator

877-210-3737, ext. 1




Ignite Summit To Develop Ways In Which Students Can Combat Bullying


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – (SEPTEMBER 10, 2013) – Faces of Diversity, an international art enterprise that breaks down stereotypes using art, today announced it will work with Statesville High School, 474 N Center St, Statesville, NC 28677, at the upcoming anti-bullying Ignite Summit on September 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. The summit, created by Statesville High freshman Jennifer McLain, will include keynote speeches from Faces of Diversity Co-Creator & Artist – Edwin Gil, WSOC Channel 9 Anchor – Natalie Pasquarella, Positive Direction for Youth and Families – Glenn Usry, Facing Forward – Charlene Pell, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg School – John Concelman. Time Out Youth and the Lighthouse Team from East Iredell Middle School will lead breakout sessions along with Student Assistance Program (SAP) Coordinators.


“Through the summit, we want to encourage students to be the spark that ignites a wildfire of change,” says student leader Jennifer McLain. “Our goal is to have meaningful conversations about the affects of bullying, which will positively impact the climate and cultures of our schools. Edwin Gil’s Faces of Diversity and the Ignite Summit will demonstrate how we can all work together to build each other up, respect our differences, and celebrate diversity.”


“We are proud to partner with Faces of Diversity and the group of student leaders who will undoubtedly have a positive influence on their peers,” says Iredell-Statesville Schools’ Superintendent Brady Johnson. “The contributions of our students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community at the Ignite Summit demonstrate that bullying will not be tolerated in our schools, but even more important, shows the power of teamwork in addressing one of the most important issues facing our young people today. Through its art component, Faces of Diversity brings stories of triumph, courage, and strength to life.”


“Faces of Diversity helps provide a voice to students who may not have an outlet to express their feelings,” says Faces of Diversity co-creator and artist, Edwin Gil. “Working with school districts like Iredell-Statesville, communities and student groups across the U.S. can see how art can be used as non-invasive ‘safe’ communications tool to address the issue of bullying head-on.”


Artist Edwin Gil will collect more than 1,000 Statesville High School student thumbprints to create the sixth Faces of Diversity from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. September 16,17, 18, and 19 at Statesville High School. Great Photo Op!


Most recently, the Faces of Diversity team led by Brian Cockman, president of Rooster Communications and project co-creator, visited Medellin, Colombia to work with pre-school children and their families. Other past participants include NC school districts: Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and Union County Public Schools.


For more information on Faces of Diversity, visit, find them on Facebook at or on Twitter at


About Faces of Diversity: Faces of Diversity helps promote diversity and multicultural awareness through hands on art activities and thoughtful conversation. It reaffirms a sense of unity and connection among diverse groups by demonstrating how our differences should be respected and celebrated. Contemporary, conceptual artist, Edwin Gil, shares his personal story of triumph over tragedy, leads workshops, and creates a large 8’ X 8’ piece of artwork using participant thumbprints. The ‘face of diversity’ is gifted to each participating organization and serves as a reminder that our collective strength comes from our individual talents and unique personalities.


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