At our school, we’ve been thinking a lot about how people who stand up for justice in great or small ways can be considered upstanders. Unlike bystanders, who do nothing to stop an injustice, upstanders can have a positive impact on events, past, present, and future. Below find a series of student descriptions of upstanders they admire. This project has roots in a district project on Voice Threads, called Upstanders, Not Bystanders. Here’s a sample of our upstander stories:
During my mom’s high school year of being a cheerleader, everyone thought she would be mean. After stopping this guy from bullying one of her friends, everyone noticed she was a nice person. They also found out she’s caring. My mom would always stand up for her friends and even those who weren’t her friends.
The person who I consider an “upstander” would have to be Rosa Parks because she stood up for something that everyone else was scared to do. Rosa went on the bus one day, and she was told to sit in the back of the bus (because she was African American). She stood up to [the bus driver]. The consequence was getting thrown off the bus and [getting arrested]. She never gave up on anything she stuck her mind to. She was standing up for something right; equality. Rosa Parks stood up that day and spoke out to show that even though she was black, she had a voice and well… she used it. This is why Rosa Parks is an “upstander”. She spoke out and wasn’t afraid of the consequence.
When I hear the world, upstander, my best friend, Colby, comes to my head. The reason I think Colby is a person who stands up for others is because he’s very respectful. Now, what I mean by this is that he never leaves you out. Say you are playing a game of football, and nobody picks you. He would be the person to say, “Hey, come over on this team.” The first time I met Colby was in 2013 in the Jr. Wildcats football camp. At first, I thought he was just a teammate I would never get to know, but that all changed because of who he is. At the end of the camp, we would do relays. Colby was one of the captains. There were only two kids left to pick, and I was one of them. I thought that I wasn’t going to get picked, but Colby picked me. If he hadn’t, I don’t think we would have talked. After two years, we are basically like brothers. We fight, we argue, we make-up, we hang, and the best thing is…we got each other’s back. P.S. We won the race. 🙂