The catalyst for my involvement happened one day while I was watching television. I stared in outrage as I watched yet another story about a child who took their own life rather than continue to be victimized by bullying. It became very clear to me that while I was emotionally outraged by the story of this child I was not doing anything to help find a solution. Well placed emotion without action is tantamount to apathy. I decided that it was time to get involved.
I had received an email regarding the ADL. I decided to follow up. In a very short time my girlfriend, Michele, and I found ourselves out to lunch with a representative for the ADL, Maggie Howard. Maggie asked if Michele and I would be interested in participating in a year long program called the Glass Leadership Institute. Maggie went on to explain that the group of approximately 20 meets once a month and has fascinating and diverse speakers. Throughout this year we have heard higher court judges, experts on hate crimes, capital case prosecutors and law enforcement officials.
The program culminated in a four-day long conference in Washington, DC. The ADL gave us a wide array of speakers from which to choose. They spoke on subjects ranging from bullying and cyber bullying to anti-semitism, the need for a safe and secure Israel and combatting bigotry in many of its insidious forms. While in Washington we heard from numerous politicians including John Lewis (D-Ga.) who was the son of sharecroppers. His message was incredibly powerful. The conference culminated in a final panel which included the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. I was then given the honor of introducing the final three speakers.
I graduated from the Glass program on June 14th, 2011. I have chosen to continue my work with the ADL by speaking as a volunteer on behalf of the ADL as well as work on several committees. I am proud of the work of the ADL and I am honored and humbled to be able to participate in such an incredible organization. I encourage others to research the vast work of the ADL and to get involved with this organization or another organization that is helping to make the planet a better place for all.