LOS ANGELES — WWE Superstars helped spread the Be a STAR Alliance’s message of tolerance during two rallies in the Los Angeles area during SummerSlam Week.
Big Show, Alicia Fox, Hornswoggle, Josh Mathews and WWE Executive Vice President of Creative Stephanie McMahon led 400 students between ages five and 13 at the Montebello Park Cathy Hensel Youth Center in Thursday’s first rally. They were joined by actor Ryan Ochoa and actress Daniela Bobadilla for the event.
Both students and guests were welcomed by Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, who stressed the importance of the Be a STAR Alliance’s message.
“We should always try our very, very best to treat each other well, to be nice to one another, regardless of what age you are, what religion you are, or your race or sexual orientation,” said Sanchez, who introduced a bill in Congress called the “Safe Schools Improvement Act.” Every school would need to have rules in place to protect kids from bullying.
Stephanie McMahon asked the children how many of them have experienced bullying, before explaining how the Be a STAR Alliance and the tools it provides can help them end it. Big Show followed, encouraging the children to stay positive and end bullying in their schools.
“You have the power to stop bullying," The World's Largest Athlete said. “If people are bullying you on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it's a simple thing: block them. Have a no-tolerance policy for bullying. You guys are the future lawyers, doctors, presidents and CEOs. Look forward in a positive way; don't put up with bullying.”
Fox then took the stage to explain the many different ways bullying can occur, whether in person or over the Internet.
“There are all types of bullying: physical, emotional and cyberbullying. The important thing to realize is that being mean is not cool,” the former Divas Champion said. “What you can do to prevent that is telling a trusted adult, block all messages and don’t send negative messages. Keep passwords safe. It’s very small, but big, big information.”
Hornswoggle told the kids how important it was for them to stand up for friends or anyone who may be bullied.
“I was always bullied, but I had a lot of friends and people that cared about me around me,” he said.
“If you see someone being bullied, don’t just stand back. Don’t be a bystander,” he added. “When you see bullying happen, tell a trusted adult, tell a teacher, tell a parent.”
Later that afternoon, The Prime Time Players and Lilian Garcia joined Congresswoman Sanchez, McMahon, Hornswoggle, Mathews, Bobadilla and Ochoa, along with 400 eighth-grade students for the second rally of the day at Samuel Gompers Middle School in Los Angeles.
Darren Young shared a personal story about overcoming obstacles when he was a kid.
"As a child, I had a speech impediment. I had a stuttering problem. I got the help I needed and I didn’t let that stop that from achieving my dreams of being a WWE Superstar," Young said. "People told me that I would not be a WWE Superstar. I didn’t take no for an answer. I improved my speech, and now I’m living my dream.
"If you have any type of disability, don’t sell yourself short,” he added. “Be the best you can be. You guys are the future."
Titus O’Neil spoke candidly about his difficult childhood and how a mentor steered him in the right direction.
“[My mentor] told me he believed in me. He believed I wasn’t a dumb kid like people tried to play me off as, so I started getting more involved in my schoolwork. I ended up getting a scholarship to the University of Florida to play football, and graduated from there with two degrees," O'Neil explained.
"I’m no different than you guys. The only difference I made, that a lot of you have the opportunity to make is to say, 'I can and I will,' despite what you have to go through, despite who tells what you can’t do. You can and you will," he said.
"This whole Be a STAR campaign is not just about bullying,” O’Neil urged. “It's really about how you should live your life. You should be a star. The reason why is because you were born a star. It doesn’t matter what background you come from."
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.