SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The 5th Annual Justice Against Bullying walk and rally in Springfield’s North End took place Saturday.
Aniya Phillips of Springfield told 22News, “Hopefully people will talk to their kids about this.”
The event was put on by the School Hugs Bullying Prevention Program. Families made signs and walked down Main Street to Calhoun Park for a rally asking the world to join their fight against bullying.
In the schools on the playground or even at home, bullying is a concept that almost every generation is familiar with. For folks 22News spoke with on Sunday, it’s important to pass on life lessons to younger generations to let them know about the negative effects of bullying.
Elle McFarlene of Springfield told 22News, “There’s always a way to talk things out if the tools are there to teach them. There’s always a way to join organization like this where people stand behind as one voice.”
Organizers said this year’s event is dedicated to the efforts of the prominent anti-bullying activist Sirdeaner Walker, who recently passed away.
Her son, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, took his own life in 2009 after being bullied by classmates. For years, she helped promote anti-bullying efforts, provided scholarships and gave support.
H.U.G.S. Executive Director Luis Castro told 22News, “She fought very hard to have programs like our program implemented into schools, because she believed that the schools really needed educational classes like ours that specialize in this situation and dealt with that.”
On Saturday, walkers let everyone who heard them know that Sirdeaner’s legacy lives on.