Cedella Marley tells us how she turned her father’s iconic message of justice into an anti-bullying children’s book.
On September 10, Cedella Marley publishes her latest children’s book: Get Up, Stand Up, which incorporates the lyrics of Bob Marley’s iconic anthem into a brilliantly colorful story. She is amplifying a key-value her parents shared with her, and one she passed on to her own three sons—that proudly standing up for yourself and others is the best way to curb bullying.
Proceeds from the book, as well as from our new collection of Tuff Gong tees for adults, kids, and toddlers, will go to No Bully, an organization that works to eradicate bullying and cyberbullying worldwide.
Cedella Marley knows firsthand that bullying is a problem that won’t go away on its own. For her, it took the form of a group of mean girls in high school. Relying on the values instilled in her by her parents, she was able to stand up for herself peacefully. “I was filled with rage, but I managed to tell them off calmly. I said, ‘Don’t take my silence for weakness, I was just giving you grace.’ They were not prepared for it.” She also knows that her experience is a common one. “We all have individual stories about standing up to bullies, and unfortunately things have not changed much,” she says. That’s a big part of why she wanted to find a way to transform her dad’s galvanizing message for a younger audience, who might not be familiar with the song. “My goal with the book was to make the song speak to our youth,” Cedella explains. Paired with vibrant illustrations like John Jay Cabuay, each page shows a diverse group of kids learning to get along as a community, and have their classmate’s backs. Alongside are the familiar lyrics: “Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights! Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!” Cedella hopes that it “inspires kids to do the right thing, no matter how hard that might sometimes be.”
Bob Marley’s legacy lives on in his revolutionary music, and the message of Cedella’s colorful new book captures a similar call to arms to speak truth to power. As Cedella says, “Adapting the song in this form has been a long time coming. My dad was a leader, a creator, and a change-maker. He stood for kindness and peace, compassion and equality.” The fact that his words can still serve as a rallying cry, even for little ones, is a testament to his timelessness. “I hope by bringing my dad’s words to today’s kids, I can introduce his message of love to a whole new generation.”
No Bully is a nonprofit organization that ignites compassion to eradicate bullying and cyberbullying worldwide. Founded in San Francisco in 2003, No Bully was started by a collaborative team of educators, psychologists and lawyers committed to building a kinder and more compassionate world through ending the crisis of bullying in schools and online. Since its founding, No Bully has had a 90% success rate eliminating bullying in schools, serving hundreds of thousands of students in the US, and partnering with institutions, families, parents, and students to teach the good use of power by empowering voice, compassion toward others, and inclusivity. In collaboration with its corporate strategic partners, No Bully has reached millions of individuals globally with innovative and design-led campaigns and programs.
Proceeds from both Get Up, Stand Up, and our exclusive new tees with the same lyrics, will go to support the group’s work of helping young people lead happier, more empowered lives. Learn more at www.nobully.org.