EAST CHICAGO — Having worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years, East Chicago resident Valrie Kemp-Davis has seen her share of bullying.
"In some ways, I've seen all types of bullying, whether it's done domestically or bullying people in the streets," she said.
Kemp-Davis did her part to try to nip bullying when she launched what she is calling her One LOVE Project to a group of local second-graders last week at the main branch of the East Chicago Public Library. Others also attended her "edutainment experience" that emphasized respect for and tolerance of others, and appreciation of different cultures.
Although she has written multiple children's stories, Kemp-Davis's book "Jamaican Mi Seh Mi ABC's" was the first one published last year, and she read from that.
A mother of two daughters who are part Jamaican, the story is loosely based on Kemp-Davis's family and tells about a little girl who grew up in East Chicago with parents of different heritages and cultures.
"It's about being bicultural and that fusion and to appreciate it," she said.
The presentation included listening to Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley's classic song, "One Love," which calls for unity among people.
Kemp-Davis said Jamaica's motto is "out of many one" due to the mixture of people from different countries who migrated there.
"That's not just the story of Jamaica, that's the story of many of us," she said.
The program included a unity march in which the children walked around the library to demonstrate inclusion.
A music video that accompanies the book was shown with its anti-bullying message.
Kemp-Davis believes it is important to reach children at a young age to foster positive belief systems and said that if not done, "victims can become victimizers."
"We want to talk about that you have a responsibility to open your mouth and not allow someone to be bullied in your presence," Kemp-Davis said.
She hopes to present her One LOVE Project at other venues where children are present, and can be reached for scheduling via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A review of Kemp-Davis's book can be found at carradicecollection.com.