This article was featured in the Activist Spotlight Series on Care2. Please help me spread the word!
Activist Spotlight – Shivani Cotter Stands Up to Bullies Everywhere
Note: This is another part in our Activist Spotlight series, where we shine a light on Care2 members who are making a difference in their communities.
Everyone experiences seasons of pain, and it takes a special strength to remain soft and open instead of hardening into bitterness. Care2 member Shivani Cotter is familiar with life’s darker aspects, and yet deep compassion and empathy practically spill out of her every gesture and word. More than anything, she is passionate about empowering others to overcome whatever obstacles prevent them from being the people they were meant to be.
“Whether people, animals or the environment, we all need a fair chance to grow the way we were meant to,” she explains.
Shivani’s activism springs from a personal experience of injustice. Born in Calcutta, India, she was “no stranger to witnessing those less fortunate.” After her family immigrated to Massachusetts, however, she experienced hardship of a different kind when she became the target of bullies at school.
These experiences in elementary and junior high school “tainted me for life,” she explains sadly. “The bullying shaped who I was, which prevented me from being who I am today earlier in my life. I was very insecure and my sense of self was not strong. Constantly trying to be the type of person I thought would be accepted prevented me from doing many things that I genuinely wanted to.”
Like so many others who have been victimized, Shivani was able to finally move past this period of emotional devastation, and the experience gave her a renewed appreciation for the resilience of the human soul. Even while she was being ostracized and demeaned, her heart ached for those going through the same torture.
She is thrilled that she now has a fresh platform from which to empower others — her website. Via TrendingMom.com, Shivani encourages people to set their own trends and embrace their individuality.
“My voice is now being heard and I am loving it,” she gushes. ”My website is my opportunity to let others into my life, and write about all the things near to my heart, from parenting to humanitarian efforts and technology. Quite simply, it’s a bit of me, to you!”
Aware of just how much our environments shape our identities, Shivani is passionate about fostering a safe, healthy, affirming habitat for her own two daughters. “My children, of course, are my world,” she confides. “I feel very accomplished as a mother, but cannot take credit for who they are internally. They are beautiful people. My husband and I may have created them, but, they came out knowing who they were, and they never cease to amaze me.”
Care2 features prominently in Shivani’s narrative of personal empowerment. She enjoys reading news and signing petitions from Care2′s bloggers and nonprofit partners, but her favorite thing about Care2 is how individual members keep the site’s energy going. “Every time I enter the Care2 website, I know I am making a positive contribution to a cause I feel good about,” she says. “The best part is how easy it is to do!”
Thank you, Shivani, for courageously seeking to empower others!
by Ellyn Schwaiger
April 15, 2012