Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
by Tara Cavanaugh
Brandon Dowdy is a 17-year-old graduate from Detroit City High. He participates in the Ruth Ellis Center’s Out and Up Front Leadership Academy, and he has testified before state lawmakers for enumerated anti-bullying legislation. He has also testified before the Detroit Public Schools board in favor of an anti-bullying policy. He aspires to get his Ph.D in psychology.
1. Tell us about testifying in the state legislature. What did you testify for?
For an enumerated bullying policy. It was a good experience, but it was kind of nerve wracking at the same time. When I talked to the state representatives, I felt like I was a little person going up against all of these powerful people. At first I thought they wouldn’t listen to what I had to say, or they wouldn’t give me the time of day. But a few of them actually listened. I even made this one lady cry. Just hearing my story about how I was bullied in school.
2. Did you felt like you got through to them?
I did. I felt like I touched a couple of them, got through to them, helped change their minds in the decision that they were going to make, to put in the enumerated policy with more detail. I think I accomplished something.
3. What did you tell them about yourself?
I told them my life through elementary, middle school and high school. The whole bullying thing, harassment about my sexual orientation, things like that.
4. Can you tell us about the Out and Up Front Leadership Academy?
It’s a group of four of us who all are taking a stand to people in our community to make a difference and to make our community safer and more of a helpful unit. We all were a part of changing the bullying policy in the public schools. We came up with new words to put in it. We also did workshops with other people, other organizations, teaching them things about how to handle certain situations.
5. You sound like a leader. Why is that?
I don’t really know. I’ve always been a person who stands up for myself and for other people. And I can’t just walk by and let somebody be in distress and not do anything about it. If I can help I always will try to. For the issues that have been going on in the whole school system and the community, period, it’s like OK. If I want this to change, somebody is going to have to take a stand and do something.