Each winter for the past eight years, GLSEN's offices are flooded with hundreds of entries for the No Name-Calling Week Creative Expression Contest. Elementary, middle- and high-school students from all corners of the country send us drawings, poems, videos, songs and other original artwork, all centered on the same theme: the impact of name-calling on them and their peers, and what needs to be done to promote respect for all. A gallery of past winners is available here
Seeing those entries come in is a high point of each year for me. Each one represents thoughtful engagement with a serious and difficult issue, and a measure of hope and faith on the part of each student artist that they can make a difference with their work. Schools
that hold No Name-Calling Week events, use the lesson plans, and encourage students to enter the contest provide their students with an opportunity to be part of the change they want to see in their world.
No Name-Calling Week (NNCW) is taking place in schools nationwide right now. Last year, more than 100,000 K-12 students across the country took part in NNCW activities in their classrooms. This year we expect the week to have an even broader reach, with the participation of new partners Barnes & Noble, Cartoon Network and the National School Boards Association and old friends like Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Education Association, and the National Middle School Association. Click here for a complete list of organizations that support No Name-Calling Week, made possible, in large part, by a generous grant from Cisco.
This year is a special one, as James Howe and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing celebrate the tenth anniversary of the publication of The Misfits, the book that inspired the whole idea of a No Name-Calling Week in the first place. James Howe and Simon and Schuster have been our partners in NNCW from the very beginning, and I thank them so very much for inspiring and supporting such a critical event in our K-12 schools.
The contest entries generated across the country this week will begin arriving in our offices soon. I look forward to sharing this year's winning entries with you in the spring, but not before all of us here at GLSEN have been buoyed up by this week's activities and the expressions of hope they generate.