EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Friday afternoon’s first-ever Be a STAR rally at WrestleMania Axxess may have been the funkiest one yet.
WWE announcer Josh Mathews hosted the anti-bullying assembly inside East Rutherford, N.J.’s IZOD Center alongside The Funkasaurus himself, Brodus Clay, Tensai, the gorgeous Funkadactyls and Hornswoggle. Although the group is known for having a good time wherever they go, their message on this day was an important one.
“Our mission is to get rid of bullying across the country,” said Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition, before a crowd of 165 children from Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the New York and New Jersey area.
The kids were able to enjoy all the exhibits at WrestleMania Axxess before settling in on the floor of the IZOD Center, where they heard Tons of Funk and company talk about different kinds of bullying and share some very personal stories.
“I always got picked on growing up, but my dream was to be a WWE Superstar,” Hornswoggle said. “I was always told, ‘You’re not tall enough.’ But I never let people bring me down.”
Somewhat surprisingly, the intimidating Tensai also admitted to experiencing bullying during his childhood.
“I was bullied because I was really big,” said the man Brodus Clay likes to call “Sweet T.” “The thing that helped me through that was my friends, my parents and my teachers. It’s your responsibility to make sure your friends are OK.”
Naomi agreed with her friend’s statement.
“You have to help them out and be a voice for the voiceless,” she said. “If you have the courage, just tell a bully to stop.”
The excited group from the Boys & Girls Clubs made a promise to do their part in bringing an end to bullying. It was a touching sentiment and a hopeful message that Cameron summed up as, “When you guys respect and support each other, it makes the world a better place.”
One out of every four children is bullied, and a child is bullied every seven minutes. Through WWE and The Creative Coalition’s campaign, children around the globe are encouraged to “Be a STAR: Show Tolerance And Respect.”
For more than a year and a half, WWE Superstars and Divas have visited more than 40 schools to spread the Be a STAR message, positively affecting 20,000-plus children. This is in addition to the 25,000 people who have taken the Be a STAR pledge online at community.wwe.com/diversity.
Be a STAR is made up of more than 50 alliance partners, including Scholastic Inc., YMCA of America, Girl Scouts of America, GLAAD, RAINN and STOMP Out Bullying. For more information, visit the Be a STAR Facebook page, and check out Be a STAR on Twitter @beastaralliance. Also on community.wwe.com/diversity, take the official Be a STAR pledge, and download a free Be a STAR teacher’s aide and Be a STAR toolkit to start your own local chapter.