When our kids experience hate and bullying online, we can feel immobilized. When we see it happening many of us don’t know what to say or do. There seems to be no easy answer to ease the pain. We experience discomfort, uncertainty and often react from a place of fear.
Online hate is poison, but it does not need to kill us or our children. Bullying and racism hurt, but there is an antidote.
Indigenous teachings are the antidote to online hate
Traditional medicine people say that for every poisonous plant, a healing plant is growing nearby. We just need to find them, dig them up and learn how to use their medicine.
In these situations, our teachings are as relevant as they were generations ago, and together we will learn more about them, and how they can help our communities.
Ready2Stand is here to help you dig up those old teachings and harvest practical solutions. Together, we are creating a network of online caring and sharing. Moving from online bullying to belonging.
“They’ve got to dig up the medicines, to heal the people. And the medicines, in this case, are the teachings. They’ve got to dig them up! You’ve got to find them.”
Life Stages and Native Women by Kim Anderson, page 3
Standing with Someone
In Indigenous circles, standing with someone is a traditional practice of sharing space, bearing witness, offering strength and disrupting the spread of harm. All Indigenous cultures across Turtle Island, whether First Nations, Inuit or Métis, have some form of this traditional practice. A bystander will quietly and respectfully go to the person in need and stand (or sit) slighting behind them. There is no touching, no talking – the bystander simply allows the person to feel supported by their presence. The goal of “standing” with someone is for the person to physically feel that they are not alone.
We can “stand” with someone in many situations today, for example, when someone is:
- crying, experiencing grief of any kind
- making an important announcement or speech
- sharing something personal or painful
When we see someone hurting, we can all offer support through our presence, whether we are Indigenous, or an ally, online or in the real world. We can even “stand” with someone who is experiencing hate online in a virtual world.
Through our actions we can offer the message: “I stand with you.”
By standing with members of our community, we:
- let them know that they are not alone, that we care and that they are supported
- disarm online aggressors
- grow a safer online community
- nurture an online place of belonging for each of us
This is what Ready2Stand is all about.
“When you witness someone being bullied, go and stand next to them. You don’t need to say anything, you just stand there with them.”