NEW YORK CITY – WWE celebrated the Be a STAR anti-bullying initiative’s first anniversary at the South Bronx Academy Friday morning. (PHOTOS)
World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry, Eve and WWE Executive Vice President of Creative Stephanie McMahon joined celebrity blogger Micah Jesse and HOT 97’s Peter Rosenberg in front of hundreds of students at the South Bronx Academy to spread the message of anti-bullying at a Be a STAR Alliance rally.
“It’s the most important initiative of WWE right now,” McMahon said. “I’m incredibly proud to be a part of the Be a STAR Alliance.”
She opened the school assembly by telling the sixth, seventh and eighth grade media students that "WWE is all about giving back to the community." Then she asked the pre-teens how many of them had been bullied. More than half of the crowd raised their hands. She offered them encouraging words.
"You're not alone.That's why WWE have [created] for the Be a STAR initiative," she said.
Then, the Superstars took the stage to share their personal stories about being bullied and stress the importance of ending bullying.
“It’s a serious issue and has been for a long time,” Sheamus said. “It’s gotten worse in this day and age. We are not going to stand for this anymore."
The World Heavyweight Champion told the students that if he could overcome bullying, each and every one of them could do exactly the same.
"No one can put you down," he said to cheers. "You can do anything you want. Together we can put an end to bullying."
Former WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio gave the kids advice on how they can deal with bullies.
“Don’t be afraid,” Del Rio said. “Talk to your father, your mother, your teachers and your friends. They’re here to help you.”
Mark Henry is an imposing man at six feet four inches tall and weighing more than 400 pounds. He revealed a different side of himself to the students, joining them in the audience and explaining how he became successful.
“It’s being tolerant,” he told them. “Being patient, waiting my turn. They should change my moniker from The World’s Strongest Man to The World’s Most Tolerant Man.”
He went on to stress the importance of acceptance. “I hope that every one of you respects each other,” Henry added. “You have to be tolerant.”
Eve shared her own experiences with bullies in high school. “For me, bullying happened behind my back,” she said, explaining how people gossiped about her. The former two-time Divas Champion then told the students how even bystanders can help stop bullying.
“They want an audience,” Eve said. “If you don’t give that to them, you take away their power. If you’re not helping the victim, you’re helping the bully.”
Rosenberg then led the children in a Be a STAR chant, and urged them to promise to be tolerant of each other and help end bullying.
To close out the rally, Principal Roshone Ault explained the resources available to students who may be facing intolerance from their peers.
“If you are being bullied, you have many individuals who are here to support you and help you work it out," she said.
The Be a STAR Alliance is a partnership between WWE and more than 50 organizations, including GLAAD. For more information, visit www.beastaralliance.org, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.