Music

Marley inspires anti-bully drive

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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BOB Marley's Get Up, Stand Up is the theme song for Optimist International Caribbean District's (OICD) anti-bullying human rights campaign.

The campaign — expected to run from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018 — was launched at the Junior Optimist International Caribbean Summit at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in St Andrew last weekend.

In making the announcement, OICD Governor Calvin A Hunter said permission was granted for the Optimist Club to use the song free of cost by Marley's daughter Cedella Marley, who declared the initiative to be a “great one”.

Hunter said the song was selected because the words would serve as an inspiration for those being bullied and who have a sense of hopelessness.

“We want to encourage young people across the Caribbean to become social advocates around human rights, with a focus on fighting discrimination and bullying that often take place within our schools,” said Hunter.

Marley died in May 1981. He was 36.

More than 110 students representing various schools across Jamaica, as well as students who participated in the launch of the campaign by live stream from Antigua, Anguilla and Barbados, were advised how to design programmes to fight bullying.

Jamaica's Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and Antigua's Governor General Sir Rodney Williams declared October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018 the Year of Optimists in Service to Children affected by poverty, crime, and violence.

One of the highlights of the year's activities in the District, the #GetUpStandUpCampaign will include essay and oratorical contests on Optimist topics, youth fora, youth links through social media, advocacy programmes in schools and communities through Junior Optimist International chapters, as well as Optimist adult clubs.

In endorsing the anti-bullying programme, Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan of Child Health, Development and Behaviour at the University of the West Indies on Mona campus, said the campaign was timely.

She said one out of three children in Jamaica experienced bullying, and eight to nine out of 10 children received corporal punishment.

“Children who experience violence early in their life can have permanent negative changes in their brain with them having difficulty learning and experiencing behavioural problems. Those who are exposed at primary and secondary levels also have challenges learning at school and have more disruptive behaviour,” she said.

Professor Samms-Vaughan said in 2015, 261 million children worldwide were exposed to peer violence or bullying, and 100,000 were victims of homicide. Jamaica has the 12th-highest child murder rate in the world behind countries such as Brazil and Colombia.

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