The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center recently recognized North Shore Hebrew Academy High School senior Joshua Rabanipour, of Great Neck, as Upstander of the Month for October.
“I believe, in a world that is overflowing with bullying, hate, persecution and discrimination, we must strive to achieve tolerance and acceptance of others and stand up for what is right. It doesn’t matter if you stand-alone," he said. "Throughout my life, I faced bullying, I survived bullying, I became the bully and now I am advocating for an end to bullying.”
Rabanipour has a unique perspective on bullying as he was both the victim and the bully. It takes great courage to recognize a behavior you don’t like in yourself and even greater courage to change it.
Rabanipour recognized that he was a bully and personally apologized to the recipient of his actions, the two have been able to forgive and have evolved into friends. Joshua has since become an anti-bullying advocate in his school and has become the president of its Anti-Bias Task Force. Among the issues the Task Force discusses are different forms of bullying in schools, human rights and genocide around the world.
The Task Force will be presenting at the Nassau County Human Rights Conference held at Adelphi University later this year. Joshua’s future plans include being a human rights activist and an advocate for all those without a voice. He plans to start an Anti-Bias Task force at his future University in order to continue the movement for acceptance and understanding.
Each month the Center accepts nominations from teachers, civic leaders, family and friends of a Long Island youth that has implemented the HMTC’s mission by advocating respect for all people. The student’s action as an Upstander could be one of intervention or prevention.
To nominate a student for “Upstander of the Month” or learn more, email Jennifer Carpenter Low at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 516-571-8040 ext. 107.