How the web – or people – helped Katie fight her bullies

Drawing of Katie as a Jedi
Scott Zirkel drew this cartoon of Katie as a Jedi to encourage her

A heartwarming story came across my feed today. It tells of how Star Wars fan Katie Goldman (7) came home and asked her mum to change her school water bottle to a pink one because the kids in her class were teasing her about her Star Wars one which was apparently “just for boys”. The story is a wonderful example of humanity at its best and I won’t repeat the whole thing here. Go read it and then come back. As ever in these stories my thoughts turned to my own kids. My son is Katie’s age and my daughter is not far off and whilst not fans like Katie they both like Star Wars.

In case you want to read it later, Katie’s mum blogged about her daughter’s plight, this was read by a fellow Star Wars kid who is now all grown up and is also a girl – Jen Yates. She posted a message to other Star Wars fans to help encourage Katie. They responded and then some, including some of the actors in Clone Wars. Now people are wearing Star Wars clothes to work to support Katie and help negate the bullying.

It’s a great story and is rightly being trumpeted as a victory for all that is good about the Web but here’s what caught my attention. The web, like any other medium, would have failed Katie as it fails many other kids who are bullied had it not been for one thing: _somebody acted_. Had Katie’s mum said nothing, nothing would have happened. had Jen Yates just read the story, thought “how sad” and then gone back to WoW or whatever else she does with her time, Katie would not be famous or — more importantly — helped. Had the other fans Yates contacted done nothing, Katie would now be taking her pink bottle to school.

### Somebody acted. Would you?

I follow someone on Twitter, [@artsyhonker]( who every morning tweets “Good morning! What will you [blank] today?”. The blank is replaced by a different encouragement/question each day. Today’s one was “What will you persist in today?”. I am pretty certain she has already done this one but following the same lines I would like to say to you

> Who will you encourage today?

That encouragement might be telling somebody they are doing okay, saying thank you for something they do as part of their job or in the case of Katie Goldman, telling them that they are not alone.

May the force be with you, Katie and all the other Star Wars kids out there.