Large crowd gathers at Victoria Park for anti-bullying rally
Mary MacLean of Valley, left, and Michele James of Truro attended Friday evening's anti-bullying candlelight vigil in Victoria Park to help show their support for deceased teen Amanda Todd and other bullying victims. HARRY SULLIVAN TRURO DAILY NEWS
TRURO - Waiting for Friday evening's anti-bullying rally to begin, Ronald Muise could fully relate to the importance of the event.
"I'm here to support anti-bullying in our community," the Debert resident said, of the candlelight vigil held in Victoria Park in memory of Amanda Michelle Todd, the British Columbia teen who recently committed suicide after posting a heart-wrenching video of her troubling bullying experience on the Internet.
The girl's death hit too close to home for Muise, whose own teenage daughter attempted suicide on a couple of occasions after she became a bullying victim in recent years while attending the Cobequid Education Centre.
"We went through a couple of suicide attempts. It took a big toll on all of us, especially her mom," he said.
Tamara Zann-Roland attended the vigil to offer her support as well. As a guidance counselor at a local school, she also has seen the first-hand effects of bullying and said she just wanted to be out to show support for the Todd family (who has connections to Truro) and "to do something to help."
Laura King of Salmon River said she came out to not only show her support but to help instill a message of hope into her own teenage daughter, Martina, that: "It will always get better. Always. And not to be the bullier and not to let anybody bully her," she said.
"I want her to be well aware of the facts and what really does happen."
The vigil drew at least a couple of hundred participants who listened to music and heard words of inspiration from various speakers, including some local elected representatives and members of the Truro Police Services Cyber-bullying Task Force.
The environment for young bullying victims has changed drastically from previous generations, the crowd was told, given the impact and speed of social media through such avenues as Facebook, YouTube, chat rooms and so forth.
"As you already heard, this evening, this is everybody's problem," Const. Todd Taylor said. "When it comes to bullying, enough is enough."