Written by Nancy Lee, as part of her Social Marketing Sightings theme.
Sighted on: King5.com
Social Issue: Bullying
Social Marketing Strategy: A New Product
Former Seattle classmates collaborate on a book about developing empathy for bullies. The book aims to help kids to respond empathetically to bullying instead of fighting back. Brooks used his own personal experience as inspiration for the book. He said he was called “four eyes” and kids used to pull his rat tail and suspenders. “Not to mention, I was a Black kid playing tennis and that was very different in the nineties,” Brooks said. The story talks about being bullied and the temptation to fight back. Instead, the book promotes empathy as a way to handle it. “Our pitch is simply spreading empathy throughout the world,” Brooks said. “If we can teach a kid how to be empathetic to their peer, the people they become in the future, the adults, the young men, young women they become in the future, we hope they carry that empathy from when they were a child reading our book. and hopefully our world in the future because of our message is… more beautiful than where we leave it.” Brooks tapped Sun, a former classmate, to help him with the artwork. Sun’s murals can also be seen around Seattle. The two returned to Franklin High School to talk about their message. “Here in the art room this is where I got a lot of my skills,” Sun said. “Being back at Franklin and talking with students and staff we can see how important this book is and we want to keep spreading the message.” One hundred copies of the book were purchased and distributed by Seattle Public Schools. The duo say their goal is to continue to spread awareness beyond King County. “We are so thankful to have the books in schools right now and that’s our focus more than a bookstore,” Brooks said.Brooks and Sun are aiming to get their book on bullying and empathy onto the curriculum of every elementary and middle school. We hope our book can teach all children how to love each other and become humanitarians,” Brooks said. “Just say hey, if you are being bullied, maybe we can figure this out together as a community.”