Lynda Dobbin-Turner - A Voice for the Voiceless
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
I was privileged to meet this wonderful, inspirational woman, hear her story and listen to her music as she shared with us at our Works of HeART social. Lynda is no stranger to profound loss and pain. But she continually chooses to rise above it to give hope to others. Besides experiencing terrible bullying early on in life, Lynda's only child, Shane, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and passed away at just seventeen years old. She also lost her first husband to cancer and then fought and beat cancer herself. She continues to be an inspiration to so many through her life, her courage, her books and her music. Read her story...
"When I moved back to Vancouver Island 2 years ago, I began following the Works of HeART initiatives, because bullying had played such a big role in my own life. At the age of 6, my Dad moved us all from Victoria to Manitoba, so that his children would have the opportunity to enjoy a stable life on a farm rather than the transient life of a naval family when we began our education.
I began school as a chubby little 6 year old, in a small country school that had about 160 kids in it. Almost immediately the bullying began, and it remained relentless for almost two years. As a newcomer to the area, I’d not had a chance to make friends or alliances. I was a smart child, but found out early that being smart corresponded to being seen as the ‘teacher’s pet’. I was gifted with natural abilities in music, singing and playing. But soon realized that those gifts would be twisted by others as ‘showing off’. So, as many children who are bullied begin to do, I started to work really hard to become smaller and more invisible, worked at making sure that my light didn’t shine too brightly, as that would attract the attention of the mean kids. I learned that it was safer to be less. Sad isn’t it?
Then one day, an older First Nations girl happened to notice what was happening on the playground at recess, and she came and put a stop to it. She became my champion, and began to meet me at my classroom door for recesses and lunch hours, so that I wouldn’t be alone and tormented...and her stepping up and doing that was the beginning of the end of the bullying.
Fast forward 50 years, and sadly, bullying is as prevalent as it’s ever been, but today kids have so much more trouble getting away from it. Technology and social media get turned into weapons that can keep the attacks going day and night, and as we so regularly see, kids get worn down to the point of suicide...or in some cases going on the attack themselves. As horrible as I remember the experience being for me, I can’t even imagine what it is like for kids today.
Although none of us can put an end to the age-old practice of bullying and discrimination, we each have the opportunity to make a difference, and that is what the Works of HeART Project is about. Giving people the opportunity to make a statement and take action by using their unique gifts and talents...their own art.
Myself, I believe in the power of story, and have learned over time that when we find the courage to share our own story with others, we are offering a piece of ourselves, of our hearts, and in doing so we are creating a small space where seeds of hope can be planted. You can share your story through music, the written word, dance, or any number of forms of art, and each time you do you are potentially throwing a lifeline to someone who is currently drowning...thinking no one else understands, no one else has lived this, there is no way out, that the bullying will never end.
I am here today to share that it does end, things will get better, you are not alone in your struggle. I try to continue to share that message through my songs and music, through my books of inclusion and advocacy, and through aligning with organizations and activities that focus on eliminating hatred, inequality and racism by educating and encouraging positive action. Works of HeART is doing that here, and it’s so exciting to see some of the outcomes of that work."
Books by Lynda Dobbin-Turner - About Anti-Bullying, Inclusion, Hope and Community
I’m also involved with Artists Against Racism as a member of their board of directors. We are currently working towards a national billboard campaign to showcase Indigenous artist’s works focusing on the theme of Reconciliation, and would invite any artists here to submit their work to that project as well, as we all take steps towards the next 150 years for Canada.
'They Are Missing' by Lynda Dobbin-Turner
This video is part of Lynda Dobbin-Turner's Canada 150 Reconciliation Project
Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
You may not think that your contribution, your artwork, your personal story will have any power to make a difference, but it does. Especially when you share your art alongside the other like minded people who are working towards the same goal of a better, more inclusive world, because as Rob Sitlanen said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Please continue to share your own unique, incredible gifts in a way that will help to build awareness, understanding, unity and most importantly hope. Let’s be the people that are crazy enough to think we can change the world....because together....we can.