“You must be the change you wish to see.” – M. K. Ghandi
I live my life by this quote because it challenges me to take action to make the world a better place. Its philosophy is also a driving force behind Green Dot training here on campus, which I recently completed. Green Dot is a national organization that works to prevent power-based personal violence, such as sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking, in communities throughout the country. I’m glad that Connecticut College has a robust Green Dot chapter, with about a quarter of students who have undergone training. My friends who completed the training encouraged me to do it for months, so when I got an email about a session that worked with my schedule, I signed up for it.
One of the things I learned at training was how to describe Green Dot to others: if you imagine a map of your community that lets you see what people are doing in real time you will see incidents of violence—or red dots. However, if a bystander at the location of such an incident does something to prevent it from happening, the incident becomes a green dot. As more and more green dots occur, there are fewer incidents of violence in our communities. Green Dot trainings and events help spread the message and get more people to become active bystanders. Green Dot training teaches you to become an active bystander, and gives you strategies to prevent people from doing things to others that are wrong.
What I like most about Green Dot is the positive message it spreads about violence prevention. While violence is definitely a difficult part of our lives, preventing it doesn’t have to be. Rather than allowing these events to occur, Green Dot programs empower communities to create ways to prevent them from happening, in essence modeling the behaviors we wish others to express. For example, writing this post is a proactive green dot because it’s a way of further spreading the word about the program and its philosophy. These driving concepts for Green Dot are ones I hope to apply to other advocacy work I do beyond violence prevention because they are powerful and inspiring. The most important thing to understand about the Green Dot program is that by getting everyone attuned to preventing violence in our communities, like many students do here at Conn, we create safer communities and a safer world.