President Gets Behind Girl’s Anti-Bullying Campaign
Word to any bullies out there: You don’t want to mess with 11-year-old Ziainey Stokes, because President Obama has got her back.
Ziainey got so frustrated about being bullied at school that she wrote to the President.
And he answered.
Ziainey was having problems with some other kids at school, including one girl in particular.
“She took my lunch,” Ziainey said, in an interview with WPVI-TV in her hometown of Philadelphia. “She took my sandwich – my good sandwich that my mom would make me.”
And according to Ziainey, it wasn’t the first time.
“She would come home hungry,” her mom, Zina Stokes, said in an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News. “And we didn’t know why.”
The bullying got so bad that Ziainey eventually switched schools to get away from the bullying – but the bullying not only continued, but she said that it got worse.
Finally, on this particular day, Ziainey just got fed up. So she sat down and wrote a letter – not to the bully or the teacher or her principal.
She wrote to the president.
“What I wrote about was that the kids at my school were being bullied and how it wasn’t right,” she told Daily News reporter Dafney Tales. “I wanted President Obama, the vice president or someone to talk to the kids at my school that it don’t matter what you look like or the color of your skin. You can’t treat people bad.”
When she was finished, Ziainey’s father, Rodney Smith, mailed the letter.
No one really expected to hear back from the president – no one except Ziainey, maybe. But then, one day, there was a letter for Ziainey in the mailbox at her home – a letter from the President of the United States of America.
“She dropped her bag and said, ‘Yes! He wrote me! He wrote me!” her mom told WPVI reporter Shirleen Allicot.
“(I) went into the bathroom and started crying because I was so happy,” Ziainey said, in an interview with Philadelphia TV station WCAU.
“Thank you for writing your letter,” the president reportedly wrote. “I have heard from many students about the challenges they face. And I am glad you wrote to share your story.
“Your letter demonstrates a desire to change the culture of your classroom as well as your community,” the letter continued. “You deserve a safe, engaging and enjoyable classroom. And together, we will strive to make this a reality.”
Ziainey was so inspired by the president’s letter that she decided to create her own anti-bullying organization.
“I’m starting an organization called ‘No Kid Should Be Bullied,” she told WCAU.
“I want to go to different schools and talk to kids about staying true to yourself and help those getting bullied,” she told the Daily News. “I want them not to be afraid. I (also) want to talk to the parents and the teachers and get them to help the kids.”
And when Ziainey talks, people seem to listen – including President Obama.
“It don’t matter if you’re in public school, private school. We all get bullied at some point in our life,” Ziainey told WPVI. “It’s time to speak up.”