By Elijah McKenzie–
Established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, the International Day of Peace was recognized as a day of non-violence and cease- fire during times of war. Since that time, the day has been annually held on the third Tuesday of September and has even prompted a local celebration at the University of Louisville.
For Jacob Jones, a freshman political science and history double major at U of L, the International Day of Peace became opportunity to confront the topic of bullying and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals.
“My initial interests in becoming an advocate for bullying awareness developed from my past experiences,” Jones said. “I want to fight for my right to be who I was born to be, and I believe strongly in the fact that everyone has this same entitlement as a human being.”
As a gay male growing up in a rural city, Jones said he understood what it meant to experience negativity and judgment based on things that he simply could not control.
“Whether it be the color of a person’s skin, the economic status of their family, the gender or genders that a person is attracted to, or simply the features that de ne their physical stature, there’s only so much a person can do to change these characteristics into tting the societal norm,” said Jones.
Social justice and advocacy became the catalyst for Jones to get creative with the antibullying campaign for the International Day of Peace. His vision was to create a video for the U of L Day of Peace event and highlight issues surrounding LGBT discrimination.
He began the “project as a means to publicize how cruel and dangerous bullying can be,” Jones said. “It doesn’t just affect the student being bullied, but it also a ects the bully. And more importantly, society will never develop until it becomes widely accepted that there are no positive e ects of bullying – that these things are effective in a negative way and are not going to be tolerated.”
Inspired by the “It Gets Better” campaign launched by the Trevor Project, Jones said he was motivated to stir hope in others and remind people that there are many who will accept them for who they are.
“Not only would it give a voice to those who believe strongly in our cause, but it would also encourage students to think twice before they say something hurtful to their peers,” Jones said. “I will be taking a different attitude toward the video … and try to encompass as many social stereotypes and inappropriate judgments as I can.”
When asked if this creative project was a potential career path, Jones said he had no future plans for video creation, but that his ultimate goal was to be a leader in cultivating social justice and equality.
“I want to take my experiences and bring them with me into the judicial branch where I hope to publicize my thoughts on justice and how people should be treated in the court system, and what will happen to those who dispute the common rule of humanity- respect,” Jones said.