Glenbard West student stands up against bullying

 
Updated 4/24/2015 12:47 PM
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  • Molly Hernandez

    Molly Hernandez

Molly Hernandez knows how hurtful bullies can be.

Growing up, the Glenbard West High School senior says she was bullied because of her Mexican heritage and her success in the performing arts.

Before coming to high school, she remembers being asked why her father did not mow someone else's lawn.

Hernandez said someone once left a razor in her middle school locker with a note saying girls aren't supposed to have mustaches.

"It was a struggle growing up, being picked on because I'm a little bit different," Hernandez said. "It didn't really make sense."

Those experiences didn't silence Hernandez -- they only gave her a greater voice.

A Glen Ellyn resident, Hernandez is the Illinois youth ambassador for Bystander Revolution, a group founded to "create a source of direct, peer-to-peer advice about practical things individuals can do to help defuse bullying," according to its website.

Youth ambassadors provide feedback on the organization's outreach efforts, Creative Director Michael Wood said.

On Bystander's website, visitors can find videos of celebrities and others talking about their own bullying-related experiences and advice.

Hernandez has a video on the site, where she tells her own story and about how she ended up in therapy.

She will be one of several Bystander Revolution representatives at today's We Day celebration in Seattle, an event intended to celebrate young people's ability to change the world.

"Our focus for this weekend is making social media a positive place," Hernandez said.

She has two pieces of advice for those getting bullied: communicate and get help. She advises bullying victims to try to work out the issue and approach the bully to have a discussion. She said getting help is also key, even if it feels like admitting weakness.

"Life for high schoolers is harder than it's ever been," she said. "And getting help, I think, is one of the strongest and best things you can do."

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