Giving “Zorgos Awards” to prevent bullying and ACEs


Zorgos_Cowan©Richard Luibrand

Local leaders were honored for using the power of “Zorgos.” Photo credit: Richard Luibrand

is an imaginary superpower that prevents bullying, coined by my co-author, Dr. Louise Hart, and myself for our book, The Bullying Antidote. Zorgos is the collection of learnable skills and/or qualities that calm, interrupt, or upshift bullying dynamics.

So much of today’s negative dynamics comes from people complaining about what’s wrong on social networks, news comments, etc. Trolls have a very degrading effect on society, and add to bullying dynamics by normalizing critical speech. We feel it is important for regular citizens to be upstanders, and highlight those who are modeling good practices.

For a few years after we started our blog, The Zorgos Reader, we just posted cute and heartwarming examples of Zorgos power. Then our mayor proclaimed October 15th “Zorgos Day,” in recognition of our city-wide read of the book to educate the community about ACEs and teach positive parenting skills.

On that day, we hosted the Zorgos Awards in Oakland and brought together a diverse group of local activists, artists, politicians, and professionals to highlight their work and celebrate the qualities and tools that prevent bullying. We started the evening reflecting on a child we love, and thinking about how they used their strengths. We wrote those strengths down, and we put them in a suitcase labeled Zorgos! 

We gave awards to:

  • LaQuisha Cowan, a parent who has struggled through the stresses of inner-city parenting, and who has helped hundreds of other parents create conversations around cultural parenting dynamics through Parent Cafés;
  • Rebecka Langum, a 4th grade teacher who creates calm and uplifting dynamics among children and adults;

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