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Th`k: Upstanding

Th`k: Upstanding

Upstanding is a word that has been in use for centuries but has recently been appropriated by social movements to describe someone who stands up against injustice and bullying. The concept includes standing alone in the face of opposition, often when others present disagree with you.

A poignant example of upstanding is illustrated in the now-famous photograph believed to be of August Landmesser, a Hamburg dockyard worker during World War II. In the photograph, surrounded by his colleagues saluting in Nazi-style, Landmesser stands with his arms crossed and a solemn expression on his face. He and his Jewish wife, Irma Eckler, did not survive the war. The backstory to this photograph reveals a courageous man who refused to comply with the inhumane actions of his peers and, instead, chose to stand up for what was right.

Today, upstanding is an important principle that should be emulated and encouraged. It reminds us to stand up for what is just, even when it is difficult, and to be a face of strength and courage in the face of opposition. As a society, we should recognize and celebrate those who display upstanding behavior and strive to create a culture where it is valued and promoted.


  1. Obey the law: An upstanding citizen always respects the law of the land and follows the rules and regulations set by authority.
  2. Pay your taxes on time: Paying taxes is an essential part of fulfilling your civic duty and contributing to your country's growth and development.
  3. Volunteer for community service: Volunteering your time and resources for the betterment of your community is an excellent way to demonstrate your commitment to being an upstanding citizen.
  4. Respect your fellow citizens: Treating everyone with kindness, compassion, and respect is an essential aspect of being a good citizen.
  5. Promote and support diversity: A tolerant and diverse society is one of the hallmarks of a progressive and advanced civilization. Therefore, supporting diversity and promoting inclusion is an essential trait of an upstanding citizen.
  6. Report suspicious activities: Being watchful and reporting suspicious activities or incidents can help maintain a safe and secure society.
  7. Practice responsible consumption: Taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint and adopting sustainable practices can help conserve valuable natural resources and protect the environment for future generations.

Being an upstanding citizen involves being a responsible and accountable member of the community, respecting the law, contributing to society, and promoting values such as diversity, kindness, and compassion.


A bystander is someone who witnesses an event or situation but chooses not to get involved.

Reasons a bystander refrains from intervening:

  • Afraid for their own safety
  • Not wanting to cause trouble
  • Feeling powerless
  • Shock
  • Don’t know how to help
  • Assume someone else will
  • Worried about what others may think
  • “Not my Business”
  • Don’t see the situation as harmful (this is common with racist, sexist, or body shaming remarks)


The consequences of bystander behavior can be severe, particularly in situations involving bullying, harassment, or violence. By failing to intervene, bystanders may inadvertently condone unacceptable behavior or even contribute to the escalation of a dangerous situation.

To become an upstander, there are a few simple steps that you can take. Firstly, recognize the importance of your actions or inactions in any given situation. Secondly, be willing to step in and offer help, whether that is by talking to the person in need or calling for assistance. Thirdly, be prepared to speak out against injustice, discrimination, or any wrongdoings you might witness. By taking these steps, you can play a vital role in creating a safer and more inclusive community for everyone.

In conclusion, bystanders are individuals who choose not to get involved in a given situation, even when they may have an opportunity to help. By not intervening, bystanders may contribute to the escalation of a dangerous situation. Becoming an upstander involves taking steps to offer assistance and speak out against wrongdoing whenever possible.

Thnk: the more bystanders to an incident, the less likely anyone will intervene. It’s called the - The Bystander Effect.

Thnk: deciding to be an upstander. The key is to “support” the victim. You do not need to confront the harasser, especially if it is unsafe to do so.


First, assess the risk to you and decide on your intervention tactic:

  1. Direct Ask the victim how they feel or validate them - with empathy & respect. If safe, tell the harasser that the act is not ok.
  2. Distract Take the harasser's and witnesses' focus away from the victim; move in between.
  3. Delegate Bring in allies if it is unsafe to intervene alone. Bullies back off if large numbers of people stand up to them.
  4. Delay When you see what may transpire, delay the incident by speaking to either person until help arrives.



                                                                 - SUZY KASSEM






Thoughtful Living

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