I love it when I see or hear something that makes an idea pop into my head. A good message and powerful words inspire me to create a visual image to add impact and help illustrate the concept.
In my Public Relations practice, I work with spokespeople to help them refine their key messages and repeat clear, simple and memorable statements that can be supported with strong visuals. This is especially important today with so much content available through the web that viewers can click away from a page before any impression is made at all. On many sites such as Pinterest, visuals are like hooks that bring visitors to other websites for the rest of the story.
When I clicked on a video link in an UpWorthy article, shared by a friend in Facebook, I heard Caine Smith’s words. He’s an 11-year-old, who had been bullied. He had tears in his eyes a few times during the video (below), which brought tears to mine but the clarity of his message was so inspiring.
Caine Stands Up from The Bully Project on Vimeo.
Caine is a PR natural!
Even though he was clearly hurting, he didn’t recoil and he didn’t act out when he was bullied. Instead Caine stood up and spoke out, bringing attention to the lack of support to stop bullying in his school. He made it clear that he wanted the bullying to stop and that he wants others to stand up with him against bullying.
Caine said he likes Harry Potter and wished he could do magic saying,
“I’d zip everybody’s lips - all the rude people’s lips.”
POW! The icon popped into my head and I began drawing bullies with their mouths zipped closed.
Caine said he thought that if he spoke out, other kids might be encouraged to do the same and “rise up and help each other out to get rid of bullying”.
I think he was right. After I finished my “Zip It Bullies” drawing, I began to see if I could find Caine to share it with him. I discovered that his video was created by Lee Hirsch, director of the award-winning film “Bully” and shared by “The Bully Project”, the social action campaign inspired by the movie. “Bully” sparked this national movement to stop bullying and to encourage a culture of empathy and action. “The Bully Project” website is terrific. It invites visitors to join their community, share ideas and work together to create safe, caring, and respectful schools and communities.
Since “The Bully Project” shared Caine’s video about 8 months ago, it has received a lot of coverage and continues to be shared virally through social media. At the time of this post, the video on Vimeo has been played over 4 million times. In October, National Bullying Prevention month, parts of the original video were included in the Ad Council’s, “Be More Than a Bystander” campaign.
An Update on Caine
I spoke with Caine’s mom, Stacy Dorman, who credits film maker, Lee Hirsch with “saving Caine’s life”. She and Caine have been amazed and encouraged by the enthusiasm and the ongoing impact of Lee’s videos. At first, Caine was a little overwhelmed by all the attention but friends at school congratulated and thanked him for his strength and courage. Stacy reports that although Caine still hurts from the years that he was bullied, he continues to stand up and speak out against bullying. Caine is doing very well and looking forward to celebrating his 16th birthday in February with some new friends.
I decided to dedicate this drawing to Caine and share it with this article. I am hoping that the zipped bully image may help fuel more sharing through social media, draw ongoing attention to Caine’s story and “The Bully Project”, and encourage more people to stand up, speak up and help stop bullying.
Join the Community
Please consider joining “The Bully Project” and sharing this story. Click the “Pin It” or "Tweet" button to share the bully picture in Pinterest and Twitter, along with links to Caine’s video and “The Bully Project”.