September 24, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Anti-Bullying Campaign #HatNotHate

Anti-Bullying Campaign #HatNotHate, which takes a grassroots, donation-based approach to combating bullying, and is especially active in October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month.

Last week, #HatNotHate hosted two major virtual events that included Justin Tindall of The It Gets Better Project, Jane Clementi of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and more than 500 students from NJ’s Bordentown Middle School. The cause was featured in a prime-time TV segment on CBS New York (which also broadcast through the weekend).

Shira Blumenthal, anti-bullying activist and founder of the #HatNotHate movement, Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation and Chair of the North Jersey Anti-Bullying Task Force, students from New Jersey’s Bordentown Middle School, Justin Tindall, Director of Education and Global Programming at the It Gets Better Project, #HatNotHate’s official 2020 charitable partner, and other supporters of the cause.

“National #HatNotHate Day” took place on Friday, Oct. 9, and included two virtual events that marked the start of National Bullying Prevention Month in October. One was a virtual assembly that included more than 500 Bordentown Middle School students and another was a special episode of Shira’s daily web series, “The Shi Show” on Facebook Live (nearly 600,000 viewers). She was joined by exemplary 7th and 8th graders from Bordentown Middle School who have been involved with the program and donned #HatNotHate’s signature blue knit hats, The It Gets Better Project, which combats bullying and oppression of LGBTQ youth, and other supporters.

Typically, the hats are donated to schools across the country for students to wear in October during National Bullying Prevention Month. But this year, in light of current events, the campaign marked the month with National #HatNotHate Day, to help empower kids to stand up to bullying and feel encouraged with all the love imbued in these handmade hats.

Shira’s passion for anti-bullying stems from her own experience of being bullied in her youth. The concept for #HatNotHate was conceived by Shira to get the knitting community to knit and crochet blue hats (blue represents awareness and solidarity and is the color to wear in support of bullying prevention) and donate them to the cause. To date, more than 32,000 blue hats have been collected for this year’s #HatNotHate campaign to promote solidarity against bullying, with an extended goal of collecting 100,000 hats by 2021.

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