By now, you’ve likely heard of Jennifer Livingston. She’s the La Crosse, Wis. news anchor who received a snide letter from a viewer commenting on her weight. A small-minded individual took her to task for being overweight and not being “a suitable example for this community’s young people.” It was mean-spirited, it was arrogant and cruel.
Rather than suffer this fatuous fool’s remarks in silence, Livingston took to the airwaves in a four-minute tour de force that put her antagonist in his place. You can watch the full video of her response here. (Note: you’ll have to see a 15-second commercial before the video begins.)
Congratulations to Livingston for standing up to a peanut-brained bully. Her example can be an inspiration to all of us. And it’s fitting that this is National Bullying Prevention Month.
Sure, bullying might seem like a trivial thing to many of us. But how many of us remember being bullied when we were younger? How many of us had days when we dreaded going to school because our tormentors would be there? I’d venture to guess most American children were bullied at some point in their lives.
And in a world where you’re desperate to fit in, such hostility can be devastating. Suicide among young people now reaches the middle school level. And more ominously, so have school shootings. Is there anyone among us who doesn’t wince when we recall how insecure we were at that age?
Some say anti-bullying campaigns are nothing more than so-called political correctness. But as Livingston notes in the video, it’s a major issue for young people, and young people might not have the inner strength to shake off hateful comments. Livingston tells them they can be strong. She urges them to learn from her experience that “the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many.”
So come on, folks. Watch the video. It’s well worth 4 minutes and 20 seconds of your time. Then take a stand in your own community. Be as strong as Jennifer Livingston. Tell the would-be bullies that such behavior won’t be tolerated.
If it prevents one — just one — teen suicide or school violence event, it’s worth it.