Reps. Huffman and Speier Introduce Resolution to Designate Today as “National No One Eats Alone Day”
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced a House Resolution yesterday to officially designate today, February 12, 2016 as “National No One Eats Alone Day”. The event, started by Beyond Differences, acknowledges the negative impact that social isolation has on children and empowers middle school students to ensure that everyone is included at lunchtime.
“As a father of two, I see firsthand the daily challenges faced by our country’s middle school children. We must ensure every student can pursue their education in a safe and inclusive learning environment,” said Congressman Huffman. “That is why I am grateful for the innovative work of Beyond Difference, whose student leaders shine a spotlight on this critical issue in communities across the country. I am honored to have this nationally recognized organization in my district.”
“There’s no one who hasn’t felt the sting of social isolation in school, and we need to make sure students are not bullied so that they can focus on learning,” said Speier. “School communities with inclusive attitudes among peers have less bullying, less violence, and are more likely to empower students to become agents of change. It sends an important message that over 400,000 students from 700 schools in 38 states are taking a second to talk with their peers and ask them to sit together at lunch today. Everyone should see what they, their family members, and their friends can do to make someone’s day a little less lonely.”
"This resolution is so important to combatting social isolation, a growing epidemic in our country. Studies show that social isolation has serious consequence on youth, including academic failure, serious depression, lifelong medical complications and can lead to self-harm and community violence," says Laura Talmus, founder of Beyond Differences, the nonprofit organization that created No One Eats Alone. "Beyond Differences is proud to have started the movement inspired by my daughter Lili Rachel Smith's life that is sweeping across the United States - most importantly led by students in middle and high school themselves-- that will ensure all students will come to school feeling accepted, included, respected and valued by their peers."
Original Cosponsors of the Resolution include Representatives Michael M. Honda (CA-17), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-39), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), and Mark Pocan (WI-02).
Earlier this year, Congressman Huffman and Congresswoman Speier sent a letter to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama urging them to hold an official event at the White House. You can read the full letter below.
January 13, 2016
Dear President Obama and Mrs. Obama:
We write to thank you for your continued efforts to end school bullying and to make you aware of an excellent organization, Beyond Differences, which is working throughout the country to end social isolation among middle school students through student leadership.
Beyond Differences’ National No One Eats Alone Day is a fine example of students making a difference on their own school campus by making sure that everyone is included at lunch. In 2015, over 400,000 middle school students in over 700 schools in 38 states, participated in No One Eats Alone Day events on their campuses with astounding results. Beyond Differences’ innovative project “No One Eats Alone” invites you to host a White House event and declare February 12th as National No One Eats Alone Day.
As you are aware, social isolation in its many forms is far too prevalent in our schools and communities, with 1 in 4 students in America experiencing some form of bullying, oftentimes leading to feelings of being socially isolated – or being perpetrated by students who feel invisible, disconnected and not part of their peer community. Fortunately, there are organizations like Beyond Differences, which empowers students through peer-to-peer student leadership to help all children in middle school and high school feel accepted, respected, and included.
The 2010 White House Conference on Bullying Prevention set the stage for a national conversation about ending school bullying. We hope to work with you to build on your Administration’s work by making social inclusion the new reality.
Thank you again for the significant steps you have already taken to prevent school bullying and to end intolerance. We stand ready to work with you and Beyond Differences on a White House event and making February 12th National No One Eats Alone Day. With your help, we can expand social inclusion throughout the country.
Jared Huffman, et al.
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