Attendees gathered around FAMU’s eternal flame wearing blue shirts to honor victims of bullying.
Despite the rain, students sang to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “We Are The World.”
The purpose of Monday night’s event was to raise student awareness of bullying by providing facts and statistics and explaining how bullying affects people of all ages.
Lanise Harris, a fourth-year public relations student from St. Petersburg, coordinated the event. Harris serves as the chair of the Human Rights and Social Initiative, one of six initiatives from the Beta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Harris led the discussion with facts about bullying and how common it is, even among college campuses.
“Bullying doesn’t stop when you turn 18,” Harris said. “It happens at school, in the workplace, in cyberspace and so many other places.”
After Harris spoke, students began to tell their personal bullying stories. Brittany Claybrooks, a third-year healthcare management student from Detroit, shared her experience with bullying in middle school and high school.
“There were times where I felt ashamed to be who I was, and I felt the need to apologize for who I was because I was a mixed girl with long hair,” Claybrooks said. “It made me feel as though I didn’t belong in my own race.”
Claybrooks said she overcame the bullying with self-evaluation and self-love. The bullying helped motivate her to help stop bullying and interracial conflicts and “bring us back to a time when we were a community.”
Marion Boyd, BAAKA member and graduate MBA student from Tampa, said bullying occurs everywhere on campus, physically, mentally and emotionally.
“Bullying affects how people treat each other later,” said Miss FAMU Jasmine Yates, a fourth-year health care management student from Atlanta. “Bullying is not acceptable, and people should treat others how they want to be treated.