At one time or another in our lives, most of us have felt powerless and persecuted, attacked and antagonized.


One voice against the onslaught can carry amazing weight. Many gathered against it? Remarkable courage and determination.

Summoning that unity and resolve and bringing recognition and repair to this situation is the goal of the Unity Year-Round Campaign, an initiative by Eco Arts Quad Cities and QC United. The purpose of the anti-bullying initiative, which was kicked off in November 2012, is to recognize the worth of all Q-C community members and to practice showing respect and kindness toward each other throughout the year.

“This is such a relevant topic, something that needs to be addressed year-round,” said Glorie Iaccarino, artistic director of Eco Arts. “It’s something that resonates with me, being a parent, and something that I, and I’m sure many others, have encountered. And we’re trying to come up with events and initiatives to address that and help the situation and those people who are affected by it.”

To that end, the groups have come up with an anti-bullying mascot, Pete the Purple Bull, a slogan – Stop Bullying, For Pete’s Sake! – and a push to raise awareness and funding to hold events in schools and at various venues throughout the year.

“We want the bull to be a compassionate symbol, to be a peacemaker, an ambassador of peace no matter where he goes,” Iaccarino said. “We’re looking to engage children in a number of multimedia projects that engage them as peacemakers, of caring, and showing compassion and respect.”

However, the groups’ efforts go far beyond the days circled on the calendar.

“This isn’t just about holding events, it’s about gathering awareness and trying to share values of self-respect and respecting others,” Iaccarino said. “It’s about creative empowerment, celebrating diversity and celebrating the commonalities of humanity.”

“The campaign is about getting everybody to stop and think about how they treat each other,” said Pat Riley-Quinn, assistant director. “It’s a constant learning opportunity.”

“So far we’ve been getting great response, going into schools, working with different students and groups,” Iaccarino said. “We’re trying to raise awareness, partner with different visual and performing arts groups, and we’re looking for corporate and financial sponsors to help make this a year-round thing.”

“This is something that affects us all, and we’re hoping to also make a change that affects us all as well,” Iaccarino said.

“These events are not only for children, but adults as well,” Riley-Quinn said. “We’re always modeling for kids, they’re always looking at our behavior to shape theirs. The campaign is to get everyone involved, get aware and to have fun.”

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.