CHICAGO -- The setup of Wednesday's "Shred Hate" event at Julian High School in Chicago was a bit different than what the White Sox expected.It ended up being the perfect format for White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, his wife, Bria, and White Sox radio analyst Darrin Jackson to share their
CHICAGO -- The setup of Wednesday's "Shred Hate" event at Julian High School in Chicago was a bit different than what the White Sox expected.
It ended up being the perfect format for White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, his wife, Bria, and White Sox radio analyst Darrin Jackson to share their no bullying message with 20 members of the Julian student government. The 30-minute program took place in Julian's high-tech television studio and was taped live in a talk show format.
Jackson asked the Andersons questions related to the "Shred Hate" initiative brought together by Major League Baseball, the White Sox as one of several MLB clubs involved, ESPN and the nonprofit organization No Bully. Students also had the chance to ask questions and interact, before Anderson's "Shred Hate" public service announcement was viewed and many pictures were taken among the group.
Anderson delivered the message of "Together, let's stop bullying. Choose kindness and shred hate" in that PSA. It was the same idea put forth Wednesday morning.
"I think it starts at home," said Bria Anderson of combating bullying. "If it's not available there, I think it's up to the schools. That's our job to step in as educators and be that backbone for each student. Compassion and empathy, those are both huge parts of it. My advice is throw kindness around like confetti. Always be kind, in any situation."
"You have to grab hold and get the message out," Tim Anderson said. "Feed it to the youth and give them love they need and try to guide them in the right direction."
Bria previously taught at a high school in Charlotte, where she witnessed violence and bullying first-hand. While bullying is never right, she explained bullies are victims, too, and need to talk to someone and find a way to get their built-up anger out in a positive manner. The Andersons also have a 2-year-old daughter, Peyton, who eventually might deal with a bullying experience.
They already have started talking to her about treating people properly and interacting with her parents in difficult times.
"Just being able to let her know she can tell us anything, being relatable with her," Tim said. "I get it. I understand she's going to go through some things. I just prefer her to tell me. Just really being open, giving her love she needs and be open with us. The more you tell us, the more we can help."
"Most important is teaching her to extend grace, no matter what or how someone treats you or what they do or say to you," Bria said. "Always be kind, always be your kind self. That's an important lesson that we are starting to teach her and we will continue to teach her."
Students were encouraged to share their bullying stories, and Keonte Brooks, an 18-year-old senior at Julian, told of his experience as a third grader. As he was talking with his friends, a group of kids surrounded him, called him names and pushed him until he fell into the dirt. They then kicked the dirt at him before walking away.
"That was the only time I experienced it where it escalated. I don't know why or how, but it happened," Brooks said. "But today was honestly inspiring. It helped me because it's like people are actually out there trying to make a difference rather than just saying, 'There's this number, call there.' Or you have your friends or family."
In 2017, the Andersons launched their League of Leaders foundation with the support of the White Sox. The community outreach program focuses on steering young men and women in the right direction.
So this duo fit perfectly Wednesday at Julian, one of 18 Chicago schools to adopt the "Shred Hate" curriculum.
"It's a teaching and learning experience for the kids," said Christine O'Reilly-Riordan, the White Sox vice president of community relations. "The kids selected as part of the audience got to hear the message about the "Shred Hate" campaign and hear from Tim and Bria and DJ why they are invested.
"Those kids doing the production, how cool is it to be able to say we got celebrities coming in. Make this a show. So I think there was something for everybody in here. It worked out as a great event."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.