By Brooke Crocker and Sara Creato
On Friday, Feb. 7, the school’s Uproot club partnered with Connect to End Violence to host the first-ever “Pink Luncheon,” an event to raise awareness of bullying and encourage students to take an active antibullying stance within their social groups.
Uproot is a student club founded by Connect to End Violence, itself a part of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services. Connect’s mission is to aid survivors and victims of domestic and sexual violence, whereas the Uproot club aims to promote respect, safety, and awareness of issues surrounding domestic and sexual violence within the student body.
The Pink Luncheon took place on Pink Shirt Day, an antibullying event founded in 2007 by two teenagers in Canada to raise awareness about a student in their high school who was bullied for wearing the color. The MVRHS observance of this day encouraged students to dress in pink as well.
Child advocate and rape crisis counselors Emily Medeiros and Isadora Brito led the function outside the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) cafeteria. Medeiros and Brito spoke with students as they entered and exited the lunchroom. The event included a bulletin board displaying characteristics of unhealthy relationships, a pink-themed photo station complete with a background and props, and pink treats, such as cupcakes and chocolates, to entice students to learn more.
Emily Medeiros said, “I think [bullying] is definitely still an issue that a lot of people struggle with, particularly teenagers. With social media, it’s difficult to escape bullying sometimes, because kids take their phones with them everywhere, and cyberbullying can follow you 24/7. It’s an issue that we should talk about, and realize that there are people out there trying to fight it.”
Although Connect to End Violence is most known for its work regarding domestic and sexual violence, antibullying campaigns are an equally important part of the organization’s work. “Domestic and sexual violence are the main areas that we deal with, but we try to promote healthy relationships across the board, so that’s also healthy friendships,” Emily said.
Emily hopes that the Pink Luncheon will become one of the many ways Uproot will reach the MVRHS community. “While the Pink Luncheon is a one-day event dedicated to an antibullying campaign, we are going to continue promoting kindness and respect in all interpersonal relationships during the healthy relationship classes, as well as future outreach events,” said Emily.
Many students at MVRHS are committed to speaking out against bullying. Sophomore Emmet Favreau said, “It’s important to shine light on something that seems like an issue of the past, but is something that we still deal with to this day. There are still kids that feel put under because of their issues, or things that are ‘wrong’ with them, but it’s actually those things about them that make them special.”