Photos Courtesy Jennifer Cook
Photos Courtesy: Jennifer Cook


Comprehensive sexual health education (CSE) is not merely about condoms and STIs.  CSE encompasses issues such as decision-making, domestic violence, and healthy relationships. These topics are all under the umbrella of “personal safety” within the construct of comprehensive sex ed. Compassion, caring, and empathy are all a part of healthy relationships. Yet, some individuals find themselves in abusive situations. However, that doesn’t mean the cycle must continue.


Zac Ebrahim: I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace.




Yes, take a minute to think about this Talk. Incredibly inspiring, isn’t it?

Despite being raised, mentored, and indoctrinated into a belief system of violence and terror, and despite being bullied incessantly throughout his school career, Mr. Ebrahim came to understand that bloodshed and cruelty are not the answer. He lives his life on the very basic humanistic rule….The Golden Rule:

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.


And what changed the trajectory of his life? One friend. One friend who happened to be Jewish. He had been taught that this person would be his mortal enemy merely because he was Jewish, different, than him. Soon he met another friend from a different background and culture, and then another. As he bonded with these diverse individuals, he realized that all people, no matter their background, want to enjoy their lives. He now understood that hatred for others is taught, not inherit.  Yet it was his weary mother who finally gave him permission to follow his intrinsic awareness of compassion v. hatred.  “I’m so tired of hating people” she told him. A simple, profound, and yet freeing statement.

There are so many layers to his story – so many components we could peel away and analyze: bullying, terrorism, education, raising children, world experiences, perspectives of others… But to me there are two resounding messages I would like to encourage people, especially impressionable adolescents, to consider.

  • Explore the world and meet people who are “different” than you…different cultures, different sexual orientation, different spiritual beliefs, different skin color. If you have the opportunity, travel to different countries. You will find the differences are what make people interesting. It will challenge your perspective and help you grow as an enlightened, compassionate person.
  • Treat others with kindness and compassion. How you behave toward another person can make a difference personally, and even globally. Focus on compassion and kindheartedness. There’s no place for bullying.

(And yes, this is what is taught in comprehensive sex ed. Surprised?)


All it takes is a smile.