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November 15, 2013

Norman launches new effort against bullying

NORMAN — As part of a new citywide anti-bullying awareness effort, nationally-recognized motivational speaker Wes Moore will be featured at a community event at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts, 1809 N. Stubbeman Ave. Admission to the event is free.

Moore was invited to address Norman citizens by a group of city and community leaders who have been working to launch an anti-bullying effort in the community.

Moore is also is the author of the New York Times best seller, “The Other Wes Moore.” Following his studies as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, he served as a paratrooper and captain in the United States Army, with a tour of duty with the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan. He subsequently served as a White House Fellow and worked as a special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Norman Chief of Police Keith Humphrey, Norman Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano, and many more who wish to tackle bullying as the broad community, workplace and school issue it is, said they hope Moore’s visit will jump-start positive community actions to address and prevent bullying.

Bob Thomas, executive director of the Xena Institute, said bullying continues to be in the headlines.

“It seems like every time we turn on the news or pick up a newspaper, there is a tragic story about someone who has been bullied and either harms themselves or others as a response to bullying,” Thomas said. “Bullying happens of a daily basis in schools, businesses and neighborhoods in communities around the country. It is a common thread that runs through communities, and we decided we wanted to actively take a stand to better understand and address that challenge in Norman.”

In 2012, the group established a community forum in hopes of more clearly identifying the community’s perceptions of bullying. A community listening session was conducted last fall with more than 100 people participating.

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