#hatnothate continues...

#Hatnothate is an anti-bullying campaign. You may remember that we collected hats for this organization last summer. Well guess what? They've expanded their operations and have set a new goal of 100,000 hats in 2020! That's a lot of hats! So we'll be collecting them all year - or at least until August 1st, as October is National Anti-bullying month so we need to get the hats to Hat Not Hate headquarters in time for them to be distributed.

Bullying has been in the media a lot in the recent years. Bullying is as old as humankind, unfortunately, and many adults remember being teased and bullied when they were kids; but "turned out fine"; and many of us have learned that not everyone can get along with one another, sometimes you simply don't like someone. Many of us eventually learn to deal with these situations and relationships. So, it can be easy for adults to dismiss conflicts and incidents of bullying when the youngsters in our lives tell us about them, and how troubling they found the experience.

It's also true that with all the media coverage, it seems like kids can't be kids without someone crying "Bully!"; someone doesn't like someone's T-shirt, teases them about their lunch choices, or laughs at a mishap. But anti-bullying campaigns aren't about turning kids into "sissies" who can't deal with anything, or sugar coating everything so their life is all unicorns and rainbows.

Anti-bullying campaigns are about bringing awareness to the dark side of human behavior and learning, as a society, how to fix some of our bigger problems. It's about learning how to solve conflict. It's about learning how to handle the bullies who resort to physical violence, and learning how to NOT resort to physical violence. It's about learning empathy. It's about accepting and learning about our differences - physical, mental, and developmental.

Sometimes we forget how much words can really hurt. Especially how much they sting when you're young, constantly growing and changing, and still trying to figure out what kind of person you are. The old rhyme, almost always used as a defense mechanism, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me!" has even stronger meaning when we're inundated with new ways to use "words". We need to remember that social media has changed the way youth interact with one another. It's changed the way we interact too. But we often don't realize how different that makes the playground and lunch room relationships we had from the same relationships formed today.

So, why Hat not Hate? Why blue? Basically, blue is the anti-bullying color, it represents peace and solidarity. That makes blue hats conversation starters. Hats are fun to wear. Hats are fun to make. Hats can be silly. Hats are tangible. Hats are textured and comforting. Hats are small and portable projects. And sometimes hats are necessary (Winter) but the very kids who might struggle with bullying don't always have hats to wear when the temperatures fall.

Thanks to social media - the very thing that can make bullying so easy these days - we can now share our blue hats with the world quite quickly, thereby spreading the word, explaining, promoting, and sharing the #hatnothate message of solidarity and anti-bullying to a larger audience. So share your projects. Wear your blue hats. Use the hashtag #hatnothate . And most importantly, start stitching!

Drop off your hats and we'll ship them off to headquarters when we have a full box. Then we'll start filling the next box, and continue repeating until August 1st when they start distributing the hats. Remember, October is anti-bullying month, and it's a long way off right now, but we need to get them there before then, so take advantage of this cold "stitching weather" and make some hats while you're inspired by the need for them.

The only requirement is that the hats be at least 75% blue. Just 'cause they're for kids, don't think they all need to be small, either. The hats' circumference can be between 16" - 20" because they will be distributed to junior and senior high schools as well as elementary schools. And they can be made from any blue yarn, the organizers simply ask that you include a tag indicating what it's made of so if there is someone with a sensitivity or allergy, they can accommodate the request.

Really, that's it! Make a blue hat, drop it off at Darn Yarn. We even have some fun wooden #hatnothate tags you can attach to your hat(s) if you'd like - 'cause who doesn't like a bit 'o bling?

Questions? There's a FAQ section on the hatnothate.org website, along with a ton of other information.

Keep on stitchin'



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