Each year, the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters awards a charitable organization based in BC a Humanitarian Award. The gift includes a significant amount of free airtime on radio stations and television networks for a full 52 week period to promote the winning cause.
Past winners of this award include BrainTrust Canada (2011), Children of the Street Society (2010), BC Schizophrenia Society (2003), BC Special Olympics (1989) and the first recipient, the BC Association for the Mentally Handicapped in 1980. 
Their campaign which has stretched over the last year or so goes by the motto, “Be More than a Bystander.” Travis Lulay, JR LaRose and former Lion Jamie Taras, who is now the Director of Community Relations with the team, were on hand to say a few words.
Travis followed up Jamie’s opening remarks by saying:
“When this was presented to us, we didn’t necessarily know what we were getting into but we knew there was an opportunity for us to be a positive voice.
It was eye-opening for us, talking to the guys, we saw that this was really a cool thing; maybe more important than some of the other things that we do in terms of reaching out to the community.
We really recognized the opportunity to be a positive male voice since it’s been strictly a women’s issue. For us, recognizing the platform that we have as influential males in society, especially reaching out into schools and talking to a lot of young kids who might look up to us, we thought it was a really cool thing.”
This is where as a fan and a member of the media, I say bravo to the BC Lions and a guy like Travis Lulay who isn’t even from here but still has the desire to help people who really need it. These guys own up to their roles as icons in the community and we should be proud of them. The Grey Cup Winner and MVP went on to say this:
“I know we’re all really excited to become a part of this and I just wanted to mention that when we did get into the schools, you don’t really know how this is going to be received. I’ll tell you what, we went into a lot of places in small towns and Northern British Columbia and it was really, really well received.
Generally at the end of our presentation, we would break down statistics. It’s such a relevant thing to that age group because what is happening is to kids of that age and it really hit home with these guys. We would break down and get into small groups in the end and talk about how things like that can potentially lead to bigger problems down the road.
So just on behalf of the guys, we’re really proud to be a part of it and this extra exposure is a big thing.”
It’s deserved exposure in my mind and let’s actually remember this isn’t all about the BC Lions. Did you know approximately 7% or 653,000 women were victims of domestic or sexual violence in the 5 years leading up to and including 2004 (Statistics Canada, 2004). 
It’s a real issue in homes across British Columbia, Canada and ultimately the world. It even affects the guys we look up to including Edmonton-born safety JR LaRose who had this to say at Friday’s award presentation:
“I told the kids about how I was exposed to my mother being abused so this is something I really wanted to be involved with.
Not only am I a father, but I am in the position of being a role model. There are some kids who idolize Travis and other guys like myself [sic] and they see us as modern day gladiators. Yes, we’re tough guys when we’re on the football field, but at the same time off it, we’re willing to take a stand.”
That sums it all up, the will to take a stand. It’s something each and every one of us can do by just spreading the message to friends and family.
The theme for this year’s BCAB conference was how social media is affecting the broadcasting world but when we extend our focus to how it affects the entire world, we see how a message such as this may be spread virally via platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
As these guys say in their upcoming ads which I was privileged to get a sneak peak of, this isn’t something you need to be ashamed of speaking up about. This day and age, not one child should grow up without hearing such a strong and important plea. You can see these ads as they roll out closer to the start of the 2012 CFL season this June.
I can do it, you can do it.
Be more than a bystander.
To learn more about the Ending Violence Association of BC and the campaign they are spear-heading alongside the BC Lions, click here.
Also, stay tuned in the coming week for an exclusive twitterview with BC Lions Quarterback, Travis Lulay.