FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 8, 2013
Hundreds Attend 1st Annual
MEDIA CONTACTS: Collin Nash, Ryan Mulholland and Sam Marksheid | (516) 869-7794
North Hempstead Bullying Awareness Walk
North Hempstead, NY– Supervisor Jon Kaiman, the North Hempstead Town Board, and other elected town officials recently welcomed over two hundred students, faculty, parents, and community activists to North Hempstead Beach Park on Saturday, April 6th, to raise awareness about bullying and its often destructive effects.
The crowd assembled at the amphitheater of the park to listen to a number of stirring speeches and stunning musical performances by students from across the Town. Nearly a dozen North Hempstead middle schools and high schools unified with the Town for this event.
Keynote Speaker John Halligan delivered a moving speech about his son Ryan, who committed suicide in 2003 due to the effects of being bullied. He discussed the necessity for students to take the lead and be “upstanders” and not “bystanders” when their peers are being bullied. Halligan now travels the country to alert students, faculty, and communities, about the potentially devastating consequences of bullying.
Following the program, all attendees came together for a Walk around the park. Dozens of students then attended discussion groups with counselors who presented advice on how to cope with bullies, and on who they can turn to for help.
Disha Singh, a junior at Herricks High School, and one of the chief organizers of the event said she experienced bullying first hand. That experience, she said, inspired her to organize this event and spread bullying awareness among her peers.
“I am absolutely amazed by the dedication and work ethic of the students that helped organize this event. Judging by the legions of people here today, both the students and the Town have already been successful in achieving the mission of building a core of ‘Young Optimistic Upstanders’ to raise awareness of bullying,” Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio said. She also added that she hopes this becomes an annual event, that she would expect to garner even more attention next year.
East Williston students stand up to bullying.
John Halligan delivers a powerful keynote address.
Town officials, and student organizers (top) and other student participants below.