FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information: Alison Edwards, Deputy Director 714-567-7466/Don Han, BRIDGES Staff, 714-796-8361
Bullied Student Whose Video Went Viral to Headline at 25th Annual Walk In My Shoes Youth Leadership Conference
(Santa Ana) – When Jonah Mowry was 14, he posted a heart-wrenching video on YouTube about being bullied for being gay. In the video, Mowry poignantly describes his despair and turmoil over being bullied since he was in the first grade. The video was made at 4 a.m. before he returned to Serrano Intermediate School for classes in the fall of 2011. His video went viral and has been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.
Mowry will be the keynote speaker for more than 500 Orange County students and teachers at OC Human Relations’ 25th Annual Walk In My Shoes Youth Leadership Conference on November 15 at California State University, Fullerton where he will encourage youth to take a stand against bullying.
Not only did Mowry have the courage to stand up for himself and become the face of courage against bullying, but he also became a national icon. At a time when the headlines were full of stories of other young people being bullied—some of whom committed suicide, like Tyler Clementi, Amanda Todd, and others—Mowry had the courage to go public with the impact of bullying.
Last year, Mowry took on a national spokesperson role when he headlined the launch of the Monster March in San Francisco appearing with parents of teens who had committed suicide because of bullying. In October 2012, he joined others in a march against bullying at Main Beach in Laguna Beach. That event, the People’s March Against Bullying, was organized by Cool 2 Be Kind, a club at San Clemente High started by friends of Daniel Mendez, who committed suicide in 2010 because of bullying.
Since then, Jonah has started an advice video-series watched by tens of thousands of people, led and participated in public marches to bring attention to this issue and become a national spokesperson for bullied youth.
Jonah was honored by OC Human Relations in May of 2013 with the Community Leader Award.
The Walk In My Shoes Youth Conference brings together more than 500 middle and high school students from throughout the county to empower and mobilize students to work towards creating positive school climates and develop their leadership skills. Celebrating its 25th year, OC Human Relations’ Walk In My Shoes will focus on the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and will feature workshops ranging from bullying prevention to healthy teen dating, awareness of people with disabilities, drug abuse, immigration, the school-to-prison pipeline, human trafficking, and awareness of social justice issues around the world.
Examples of workshops include a local high school theater group’s production of ‘Bang, Bang You’re Dead,’ a play that deals with the issues of gun violence and anger; “Mirror, Mirror,” a workshop for girls only that examines how the media defines beauty and how that influences their lives; and “Identity Corners,” to get students to examine their nine identity markers and how that plays out in their lives.
Walk In My Shoes is presented by OC Human Relations, a non-profit organization that works to create safe, respectful and inclusive schools and communities. For more information, contact Don Han at firstname.lastname@example.org or (714) 796-8361, or visit www.ochumanrelations.org.
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