- Two years ago, Greg Long saw how his son was bullied in his school’s dancing class.
- Instead of getting mad, he did something that created a positive impact.
- He started his own nonprofit and his goal is to end bullying.
A supportive father saw how his son was bullied by his classmates in his class’ dance performance. But instead of getting angry, he took an action creating a positive impact.
Greg Long started a nonprofit with the goal to eliminate bullying and support dance students who are financially challenged. His son, who is very passionate about dancing since he was six years old, was only 14 then.
They guested in a TODAY’s episode of “Dads Got This” hosted by Craig Melvin, and they talked about how they started taking on a unique path from the negative experience.
Chicago teen bullied for being a dancer is thrown lifeline by dad
Watch how this dad responded after his teen son was bullied for being a dancer.Posted by Today Show on Thursday, 15 October 2020
“Some of the students were saying derogatory comments and some slurs,” said his sone Jimmy Long, who is now 16.
This prompted Greg, or in some way, inspired him to launch his own anti-bullying organization.
“I got to listen to how 8- or 9- or 12-year-olds process that kind of bigotry and (homophobia),” Greg told TODAY. “Instead of getting angry, I decided to make a T-shirt for them. And I came up with, ‘Hey, we’re just going to dance on. We’re just going to move past this.'”
Now, #DanceOn shirts have been sold thousands and thousands creating scholarships for students with financial needs. The nonprofit also conducts events and classes with professional dancers, mostly male dancers, who were also bullied growing up. Their choreography usually echoes the message of the organization about acceptance and tolerance.
In 2018, Jimmy was able to share his and his father’s organization’s message before the former first lady Michelle Obama — who was having a tour for her book, “Becoming.”
“I lost it,” Greg said of being proud of his son. “I admittedly had tears coming down my face, because the strength that it takes for somebody like that to stand in front of 20,000 people and say, ‘I’ve been bullied and I’m not going to let it stop me from what I like to do’ — it was a proud moment.”
Jimmy has developed resilience against the harsh world and for Greg, it was “humbling” to watch.
“It’s been nice to be a part of this as opposed to just being a dad who claps very loudly in the back of the auditorium,” he said.
As for Jimmy, he is immensely grateful for his dad and his endless support.
What a beautiful father-and-son relationship!