There is a tremendous down-side to having such a great and terrible internet family as I do, and it comes in the form of news I am about to deliver.
It is my heartbreaking duty to inform you of the loss of one of our Knights.
willnotcringexforthem, my friend, my adoptive net-kid, left us this morning to - as her mother puts it - sing with the angels. Her name was Erica, though I called her Lyn (her middle name, which is how she was introduced to me) and she called me “Mummy” (with a U). She was my opera singer child, who would sometimes call me just to sing over the phone. She sang in churches and town festivals and all sorts of events, and had a beautiful voice that could reach into the rafters. She was a kind person, a gentle soul, and a loving friend. The loss to everyone who knew her is deep. I had just heard from her on Saturday, when she sent me a beautiful affectionate message for my birthday, and I’m so grateful that I had that final chance to tell her how dearly I loved her.
If this were a physical nation, the flags would remain at half-mast for a week. In Lyn’s memory, I would ask only that you all remind those dearest to you how much you value them.
Well, not really, but that is my way of saying that we have broken 300 members! Simply incredible! Welcome to you all - the roster has been updated and we are at 304 Knights of Fandom. 304 people around the world who have committed themselves to fighting against bullying and intolerance and other unpleasantries.
Which is good, because we have a lot of unpleasantries happening just now.
I won’t speak at length about any of it, because I know that some people are triggered by the violence and mayhem that are exploding all over the place currently. I understand that. I certainly hope that all of you, and your loved ones, are safe.
I don’t have answers for you, dear ones. Maybe there are no answers to be had. All I can do is remind you each to do your best to bring peace into this troubled world. Reach out. Make your voice heard. Sign petitions. Vote. Stand strong and stand together. Our growing numbers are proof that people are ready to demand a change. We can be the force for good that this world needs, but we have to stick together.
Most of us are likely too far away from where the problems lie to be of any direct help there. I know that’s frustrating. Try to direct your energies toward making positive changes in your own sphere of influence. Plant a tree or pick up litter. Donate books to a literacy program. Raise money for a cause dear to your heart. That kind of thing.
Don’t think I’m telling you not to be angry. By all means, be angry if you need to be angry! But then take that anger, that energy, that passion, and use it in a positive direction. If we can’t save the world, then you can be damn sure we’ll avenge it. (Wait, wrong speech.)
I know you’re doing your best. You’re getting out there, you’re sharing the hope and the spirit of this Knighthood. If you just take the time to cheer up one person today, or do one kind thing, you’re doing your part and I’m proud of you. Always remember that, please, because I know not enough people say it. You are doing your best and I am proud of you.
Bring your friends. Show them this safe place on the internet. Meanwhile, I’ve still been compiling resources for ways we can make a difference, and when I have enough time to sit down and go through them all you’ll see them here. (Keep sending your suggestions, they’re great!) Thank you for doing what you do, my reasons to be brave.
P.S. If you pray, pray for peace.
I’m behind on updating the roster, and will hopefully have time to do it tonight when I get home from work; things have been a little crazy lately. But given what we do around here, I wanted to raise a point.
As I’m sure you’re all aware, we lost the wonderful and gifted Robin Williams earlier this week when he took his own life. That’s tragic enough. He left behind many who loved him, including his daughter Zelda, who is well-known in the geek community because she was named after The Legend of Zelda and has appeared in commercials for the series with her father.
Zelda Williams is a Tumblr user, and was a Twitter user… until some trolls started sending her hate messages and photoshopped pictures of her father’s dead body. I’m beyond horrified.
This is an example of why what we do here is so important. We can’t stop every bully on the internet, but we can remind the people being bullied that they aren’t alone. We can remind them that the entire internet is not populated by cruel and malicious people who find humor in someone else’s suffering. And we can use our own online activity as an example for others to follow.
I’ve sent a message to Ms. Williams, although whether she’ll ever see it I don’t know. I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t come back to the internet.
In the meantime, please keep fighting the good fight. Please keep reaching out to the victims of bullying and harassment and showing your support. They’re not alone - and neither are any of you. None of us are alone, even though we might feel like it sometimes. Stand strong. Stand together. Give each other a reason to be brave.
Yesterday, I was regrettably unable to be online owing to nasty thunderstorms. During this time, I received a message from an individual (I won’t say who in case they’re shy) alerting me to the fact that the Tumblr user known as landofrunawayangels has been subjected to some unpleasant online behavior. Please, my dear ones, go to their inbox and reassure them that they are wanted here on the interwebs. Counteract this nastiness with friendship.
And then, if you will, I’d appreciate your help with something else.
Today I joined the ONE Campaign’s Power Project to help bring electricity to millions of African citizens who currently have none. They have no way to power homes, schools, hospitals. This concept is known as “energy poverty” and it’s linked to other kinds of poverty. So the ONE Campaign is aiming to send 50,000 messages to the United States Congress to request their help with changing this. If you will take five minutes to go to this link and send a message (regardless of where you live), you’ll help move the project forward. Interestingly, you’ll also increase the chance that I will be one of the people selected to go to Washington, D.C. to present the messages to Congress in person, and let’s face it, that could be kind of awkwardly hilarious. ;)
Whether you do just one of these two things or both, thank you for continuing to give me a reason to be brave. I’m so proud of you all.
The roster has, finally, been updated; my apologies to those who have been waiting for me to get on the ball there. We are just three Knights short of 300! (No, this is not Sparta.)
I would also like to announce that we have a PARTNER BLOG! The sister of one of my Tumblr followers has created gooddeedsyo, with the specific intent of signal boosting fundraisers for charities and individual Tumblr users in particular need. I encourage you all to follow that blog.
It is my intention that over the coming weeks, I will be slightly shifting this blog’s focus. We were originally founded to combat cyberbullying and that will always remain something against which we stand firmly opposed. However, with your consent, I would like us to broaden our scope and find additional ways in which the Knights of Fandom can make a difference. The partnership with gooddeedsyo is part of that; I also, thanks to an excellent suggestion, will be making available a list of resources for anyone who needs them. If you have ideas for how we can increase our impact as we unite the fandoms, please feel free to share them with me. Let your knighthood be what you make it! :)
Thank you for, as always, giving me a reason to be brave. I will conclude this latest missive with this video of a song that reminds me of the KoF and how I envision our future. (But because we’re Knights of Fandom, I’m using the fandom vid that first introduced me to the song in question.)
The roster has now been updated. To clarify a point which was mentioned in a recent message to this blog, bending the knee/swearing fealty to me is absolutely in no way necessary. It’s very sweet of you to offer, however.
As always, I enjoy receiving your stories of how you helped others with their unfortunate bullying experiences, both online and off. You are all doing a wonderful job being Champions of the Internet. We’re closing in on 300 members and I really think that, with the way this group is growing, we could easily reach 500 by the end of this year! I’d love to make that happen, so please encourage your friends to take the pledge and become Knights of Fandom alongside you. Remember, we’re strongest when we stand together!
Speaking of standing together, I have returned from the magnificent zenkaikon, where I was unable to convene a group of the Knights - but I still have hopes for next year! If you are planning to attend a convention and would be interested in having a get-together of Knights, please let me know and I will publicize it. I would be entirely too excited to see group photos!
Keep up the great work!
I used to maintain the roster as a page, but it has quite simply gotten too large and it’s too difficult to edit using the page editor. So now it will be here, in this entry, where it should be more manageable for me.
I have not been intentionally silent for three months. In shortest form, this has been a horrible winter and it’s taken a really nasty toll on me physically and emotionally. I’m so glad to finally see the sun again.
Welcome to all the newcomers! I have to get the roster updated, but if what I’m seeing in my inbox is accurate, we’re very very close to 300 members. 300! THIS IS SPARTA! Only nicer.
My chief reason for signing in tonight, apart from updates in general, is to ask my loyal Knights to please go and lend some support to Tumblr user the-masaomi-kida, who was recently attacked by some hateful anons. The noble thedragonsroost tried to alert me to her predicament last night, but I was unwell and couldn’t respond. Please invade her inbox and let her know that she’s not alone here.
Keep up the great work, everyone! It means so much to know that even when I can’t be here acting as a proper leader, there are so many of you out there doing your best to combat bullying in all sorts of forms. Remember, you are champions of the internet!
Tumblr’s interface gave me a little grief about updating the roster. But rest assured, I have finally triumphed and our number now stands at 261 members, including my own real-life baby sister (I’m so proud). That is an absolutely marvelous number and it just goes to show how much we’re continuing to grow and expand our influence. Welcome to all of our new members - if you haven’t already, please take some time to look over this blog, review our pledge and FAQ and TV Tropes page, and get to know us and what we do.
I hope that no matter what happens, no matter how hard things sometimes get and how overwhelming the internet (not to mention real life) can be, each of you will always remember that you have a home here among your fellow Knights. You are an important and valuable member of this online force of good. Just by being here, just by refusing to contribute to negativity on the internet, you have made a difference for someone. I am sincerely glad to have each and every one of you here. The Knighthood’s ask box is always open, and you are welcome to use it whenever you need encouragement.
You are, you continue to be, my reason to be brave.
One more thing - if any of you are planning to attend this year’s Zenkaikon in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, please let me know. I will be there, and I would love to organize a meetup.
Keep fighting the good fight. Be strong. I am proud of each one of you. Yes, even you.