Matt Langdon is doing great work, and more people should know about it. Rather than engage in the anti-bullying conversation as it stands, Langdon and the other members of the Hero Construction Company are re-framing the language and working to help students see themselves of heroes and champions of society. The HCC takes as its guiding language, the work of Dr. Philip Zimbardo of Stanford:
It’s a conversation we would all do well to take up today – as soon as possible. Lest you think the barrage of anti-bullying legislation and temporarily-increased conversation about how we work to create safe spaces for those students on the margins of our schools has created a culture shift such that we can lay down our worries, there is the story of Portland teen Jadin Bell who died following his suicide attempt weeks ago.
There is much work to be done, and the consequence of failing to do this work will be the death of other teens who cannot find their way out of the darkness nor recognize those in their lives capable of providing the support they need.
We need more heroes like those Langdon and HCC are working to create, and like New Jersey teen Jacob Rudolph who did more than accept his school’s superlative award for Class Actor when he took the podium, but pronounced he would no longer play the role of “straight Jacob” in hopes of inspiring other LGBT teens across the country who were facing similar struggles. We need heroes like Jacob and like his father, the one holding the camera below and whose text shows his reaction to his son’s speech is one of pride in his son and shame in a culture who would criticize this act of bravery.
We need more heroes.