October is National Bullying Prevention Month and ABC is acknowledging the month with its #ChooseKindness campaign featuring stars from ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform.
“The Choose Kindness campaign is incredibly important to our identity as Disney-ABC Television, with storytelling across our series and networks that celebrate inclusion, respect and love,” said David Ambroz, executive director, corporate citizenship and internal communications, in a statement.
“We’re thrilled that for the sixth year, our talent has stepped up to deliver heartfelt and honest messages that encourage our viewers to accept the challenge of choosing kindness, and that our ongoing partnerships with these non-profit change-makers continue to make a difference in our communities.”
The campaign offers personal testimonials and videos that reinforce the importance of being kind and accepting others for who they are. ABC is partnering with non-profits GLSEN, GLAAD, PACER, ESPN’s “Shred Hate,” No Bully and Common Sense Media to inspire kids, families and change-makers around the country.
“Their invaluable dedication to this cause within its programming, through its talent and more continues to be an inspiring example for young viewers everywhere,” said Eliza Byard, GLSEN executive director, in a statement. “As a national education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth, GLSEN has seen firsthand what happens when students stand up against bullying – as happened just last week in thousands of schools nationwide during GLSEN’s Ally Week. When young people are encouraged to choose kindness, respect and taught how to be allies for one another, school becomes a safer and more welcoming environment in which all students can fully reach their academic potential.”
The campaign’s primary ambassadors are American Idol and Live with Kelly and Ryan’s Ryan Seacrest and music superstar Carrie Underwood who broke out after her season on Idol when it aired on Fox. Underwood’s new single, Love Wins, off her latest album, “Cry Pretty,” serves as the campaign’s anthem. Cry Pretty, co-produced by Underwood, debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200. Love Wins was written by Underwood, David Garcia and Brett James.
A custom PSA, produced by Radio Disney Country and featuring Underwood, debuted Tuesday on Disney Channel and across Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country’s social media platforms and YouTube channels.
In addition to the PSAs, several stars offered honest testimonials of their personal experiences with bullying.
Among the stars featured in the videos and photos throughout the month are Live with Kelly and Ryan’s Kelly Ripa; Single Parents’ Taran Killam and Leighton Meester; A Million Little Things’ James Roday, Ron Livingston and Grace Park; Fresh Off the Boat’s Randall Park; The Rookie’s Nathan Fillion; Raven’s Home’s Raven-Symoné and Issac Ryan Brown; Pretty Little Liars and The Perfectionists’ Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish and many more.
As part of the effort and in partnership with GLAAD and PACER, Disney-ABC also will celebrate two key dates in October that call on audiences to stand against bullying.
On Thursday, Oct. 18, GLAAD encourages supporters to wear purple for “Spirit Day” to show support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth. On Wednesday, Oct. 24, viewers are encouraged to celebrate PACER’s Unity Day by wearing and sharing orange.
Additional campaigns being celebrated throughout the month of October include GLSEN’s “Ally Week” and ESPN’s “Shred Hate,” a bullying prevention program from ESPN, MLB and X Games that seeks to eliminate bullying by encouraging kids to choose kindness. As part of “Shred Hate,” No Bully, a nonprofit organization that ignites student compassion to eradicate bullying and cyberbullying, is partnering with local school districts and training them how to implement the No Bully System. To date, more than 25,791 students have been impacted by the program in schools across the country and an additional 60,000 students will be reached in the 2018-2019 school year.
[Images courtesy of Disney-ABC]