Orlando Mayor, Zebra Coalition ‘Stand Up’ to bullying

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Orlando – Orlando is putting a spotlight on fighting bullying.

The city, with Mayor Buddy Dyer, launched “Stand Up Orlando,” a campaign to support organizations with anti-bullying programs. Zebra Coalition, which provides services to LGBT youth in Central Florida, is one of the organizations slated to benefit from Stand Up Orlando’s efforts to raise awareness.

“As Zebra Coalition, we are focused on creating a safe, welcoming and supportive community in Central Florida for youth and part of that is anti-bullying efforts,” said Dexter Foxworth, director of Zebra Coalition.”For the past three years, we’ve been in Orange County schools providing anti-bullying awareness campaign and curriculum. The City of Orlando, with Mayor Buddy Dyer, has come in now to really help support our efforts in creating a new community campaign called ‘Stand Up Orlando.'”

Mayor Dyer announced the campaign at Carver Middle School Oct. 23, alongside students, faculty, staff and other business leaders. The partnership plans to provide year-round education to students and adults while raising awareness throughout the community.

“While our anti-bullying campaign curriculum is really broad and covers every person and background, part of our bullying education is cultural competency with the LGBTQ community and learning how to support them and their unique specific needs,” Foxworth said. “We work with social workers, guidance counselors and any community organization in helping to educate them and work on sensitivity training, and also help link them up to resources.”

Stand Up Orlando will hire an outreach coordinator through Zebra Coalition. That person will receive training to teach students, faculty and staff throughout Orange County about anti-bullying efforts. The coordinator will receive specialized bullying prevention training, which will include learning how to deal with bullying in cases of LGBT students.

“Because of this partnership Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City of Orlando, we now are able to fill a vacant outreach coordinator position whose job will be to go into the community to provide educational resources, workshops, training, support for parents… to try to educate and equip our entire community to recognize bullying and to know how to step in and support and stand up when they see it occurring,” Foxworth said.

Campaign sponsors include Florida Hospital for Children, Universal Orlando Resort and Florida Blue.

“If you look at the amount people, organizations and businesses that names have been added for whether financial support or just being behind the campaign overall, it really speaks to the fact that the community is coming together and saying ‘We are behind this issue; we are standing up together,’” Foxworth said. “And I’m hoping that through this campaign that our community will get inspired to join us and stand up.”

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