If you haven't jumped on board with the Not In Our Town Marshalltown Project, this is the week to do so.
After several months of planning some big events will be taking place in our community on Thursday in relation to the anti-bullying movement. The hope is that these events will inform and engage members of our community to become leaders in bullying prevention.
When our children went back to school last week, they received a strong message with each T-shirt, poster and pledge they saw - bullying will not be tolerated in our community.
Now is the time to build on the momentum.
On Thursday the public is invited to an anti-bullying rally at noon at the Marshalltown Courthouse lawn. The Not In Our Town Marshalltown Project will be providing a free lunch to approximately 500 people who will turn out to demonstrate their support of the effort.
The Marshalltown Project has gained attention because we're a community that wants to be proactive in bullying prevention. Many communities are responding to a tragedy, such as a youth suicide. The national organization of Not In Our Town is sending a film crew and its executive director to document our efforts next week.
The Aug. 30 rally is held in conjunction with the Rachel's Challenge program for fifth through 12th grade students. It's a nationally acclaimed anti-bullying program developed by the family of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine massacre.
The Marshalltown Project secured funding for the bullying prevention program through generous donations by local businesses and organizations that believe in the message.
While it will be logistically impossible to have all students attend the noon rally, we know we can send a strong message of support to them, and the rest of the community, if hundreds of people are taking a visible stand against bullying at the courthouse.
Meanwhile, the pubic is invited to learn more about Rachel's Challenge at a public event at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the MHS/Community Auditorium. This is another great way to learn about what a large problem bullying has become, and how we can combat it.
So Thursday will be a big day for Marshalltown and its efforts to raise awareness about and condemn bullying.
However, don't expect the conversation to end here. With every student that learns about Rachel Scott, for every person that shares a meal with us at the courthouse, for everyone who signed a pledge there is an expectation of commitment. A commitment to action, should we encounter an act of hate, and a commitment to keep the dialogue moving forward.
Join us in taking a stand against bullying this Thursday.