By Sophia Lodigiani,
The Davis Phoenix Coalition, a nonprofit organization that advocates against hate crimes, held its third annual Upstander Carnival on Oct. 15. The event focused on educating kids on the topic of bullying.
Carnival-goers could smell the popcorn being made inside the Veterans Memorial Center before entering the building. Once inside, the sound of kids chattering mixed with the upbeat music coming from the DJ booth.
“Our purpose, mainly, is to have [a] conversation because we know that the counselors at the elementary schools are working really hard on providing positive climates at the schools and […] we’d like to use [the carnival] to raise awareness,” said Gloria Partida, co-founder of the Davis Phoenix Coalition.
Children made their way through booths with carnival games centered around aspects of bullying such as detection, intervention and prevention. Booths also highlighted the different forms of bullying like cyber- bullying and stereotyping.
“Once they go to all the stations they will be able to go over to the fun zone where they will be able to get cotton candy, get their face painted, [and] that sort of thing,” Partida said.
Kids like Kevin Wright, a fifth grader at Birch lane, attend for the “bounce house and fun stuff.”
The event was not only for kids, but their parents as well.
“We also have resources for parents so that they can pick up information on what the district policies are on bullying, and Empower Yolo will be there with some information on things like sexual assault, which is really an extension of bullying behavior,” Partida said.
The Phoenix Coalition partnered with groups like Empower Yolo to put on the event.
“We like to invite organizations who are also working on climate in Davis, who are also social justice groups. We usually have them host the areas and then we can have them give information about what they do in our community,” Partida said.
Volunteers from these organizations and Davis schools helped run the carnival.
Grace Kishiyama and Ahtziri Gil are both students in a peer helping class at Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School.
“Part of our class is to help the community and so we came here to volunteer,” Kishiyama said.
Employees of the Davis Police Department and the Yolo County District Attorney volunteered as well.
“We are teaching kids not to participate [in bullying], and if they see it happening, not to be a bystander, but to step in and get help, and be part of the solution, not the problem,” said Trease Petersen, Youth Intervention Specialist and officer.