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I'm writing in response to Phil Hands' editorial cartoon in the June 27 State Journal. The cartoon targets the organization Freedom Inc., suggesting that members of the organization are bullying the members of the Madison School Board.

The cartoon fundamentally misunderstands what bullying is. Members of Freedom Inc. are confronting a School Board with the power to make decisions that affect their lives. When members of Freedom Inc. speak up, members of the School Board may feel uncomfortable. But no matter how uncomfortable they feel, it does not mean that they are being bullied.

Bullying involves a power imbalance wherein the bully seeks to harm, intimidate or control someone more vulnerable. Here, the School Board holds power over the youth of color who are coming together through Freedom Inc. to call for racial justice.

The board should welcome and value the presence and voices of the committed young people who attend board meetings and speak out on issues of importance in our community.

Tova Walsh, Madison

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