The power of perseverance

A pair of major U.S. Supreme Court decisions this week has reminded us of the power of perseverance in striving to achieve positive social change. Yesterday, the Court upheld provisions of the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) that provide tax subsidies for those with low and middle incomes to purchase health insurance. And today the Court held that same-sex couples have a Constitutional right to marry.

Both comprehensive health care coverage and marriage equality are worthy of a humane, inclusive society, so I am very pleased by the Supreme Court’s rulings. Moreover, the Court decisions remind us that significant social change and legal reform are often the product of sustained, dedicated perseverance. Calls for health care reform trace their origins deep into the last century. Organized support for marriage equality goes back well over a decade.

Those who have found this blog because of their interest in preventing and stopping workplace bullying understand well the challenges of creating transformative change. On the legal front, I circulated the first version of the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill some 12 years ago. As I wrote last month, we are now starting to see measurable progress:

Not too long ago, any reference to workplace bullying laws in the U.S. was purely aspirational. During the past three years, however, several states and municipalities have enacted workplace bullying laws that, while falling short of providing comprehensive protection to targets of these behaviors, signal America’s growing commitment to using the legal system to prevent and respond to abusive work environments.

Since 2003, some 30 American states and territories have considered some form of workplace bullying legislation, a variation of the Healthy Workplace Bill . . . .

As the full versions of the Healthy Workplace Bill continue to gain support in state legislatures, several jurisdictions have enacted some form of workplace bullying legislation.

Achieving positive change in the face of headwinds and hedgerows requires, above all, a determination to push forward without fanfare. Dilettantes and others who expect quick results soon learn, to their dismay, that the role of change agent is one more similar to that of a workhorse than a show horse. It’s about committing one’s self to the long haul.

2 responses

  1. I am an elementary teacher who is working in a school with a toxic environment of favoritism and bullying both by the principal and by the ones she favors. On average 4 to 5 employees are either terminated for overblown minor mistakes or opt to leave the school or district annually. Central administration and HR side with the principal every time and deny a pattern of victimization. I am on the hitlist as well, probably because I’m a building rep for our teachers’ union, which is also protecting me very proactively.

    As a result of this climate in our school, I have been questioning other teachers at other schools. Our union is sending out questionnaires. We are collecting data. I am also privileged through my local activism to be close to a number of our state representatives, the people poised to write more effective anti-bullying legislature.

    So. Tell me what I can do, please. Let me know which states are headed in this direction and send me links to what a potentially successful bill might look like. I am totally comitted to this movement and know I can put together a network in my state of NH to move forward on this. I look forward to hearing from somebody soon. All best,

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