Point of View: Be intolerant of violence by being an active bystander

We all deserve to live in a safe, resilient, and thriving community. The recent events both locally and globally have spurred many conversations with people who are actively looking for ways to make this a reality in the place we call home. I hear questions such as, “What can I actually do?” and “How can we make sure that ‘this’ never happens again?” I want to share a strategy that I have seen work. It is so simple that you are probably already doing, but we can all engage further if we bring it into consciousness.

It starts with being an active bystander. We, as Alaskans, know the phrase “It Takes a Village” better than most — especially those who have been on these lands since time immemorial. Being an active bystander means stepping into our role as community members who care for one another in a tangible way. Active bystanders are the neighbors you can count on to pull you out of a ditch, but also the neighbors that speak truth when they see a red flag. Being an active bystander is a commitment to do something about that ‘gut feeling’ when a situation is just not right.

Our prevention team at South Peninsula Haven House can help build these skills in individuals, schools and local businesses through a program called Green Dot. Our goal is to empower our community members to do something when a situation arises. When everyone steps up together, it shows that the Southern Kenai Peninsula is wholly intolerant to violence. This goal is attainable, actionable, and is already under way. Now all we need is you! What’s your Green Dot?

Kyle Darbonne is Prevention Coordinator for South Peninsula Haven House.

Kyle Darbonne

Kyle Darbonne