Culture

Get a Box of Tissues Before You Read This Woman’s Brave Fight Against Bullying

This is Lizzie Velasquez…

And this is her amazing family.

One of the many reasons why I love my family!! @abraveheartfilm

A photo posted by Lizzie Velasquez (@littlelizziev) on

You may have seen Velasquez in a viral Ted Talk about bullying and self-esteem.

LizzieTedTalk
Credit: Lizzie Velasquez / YouTube

The video has garnered more than 8 million views since it was posted.

Velasquez was born with lipodystrophy and Marfan Syndrome.

#MarfanFoundation #WalkForVictory #RIPUncleDuggie #RaiseAwareness #SaveLives #KeepCalmAndKnowTheSigns

A photo posted by Brittany Love (@loveatfirstbiteatl) on

Velasquez spent her childhood thinking she wasn’t any different from other kids.

DidntThinkIWasDifferent
Credit: Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films / YouTube

Her family always made it a point to treat her like any other family member and never discussed her condition as something that was different.

“At the time I thought that everyone looked like me. I couldn’t recognize or tell that they didn’t look like me,” Velasquez recalls.

That all changed when Velasquez was 17.

TheVideo
Credit: Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films / YouTube

One afternoon, while looking for music on YouTube, Velasquez came across a video titled The World’s Ugliest Woman, which showed her during an TV interview.

Strangers on the Internet were telling Velasquez to kill herself.

Comments
Credit: Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films / YouTube

But she didn’t let the hateful comments defeat her.

Velasquez decided to confront the bullying.

Velasquez has taken her fight all the way to Capitol Hill.

Morning of Day 2 on Capitol Hill. #endbullyingssia

A photo posted by Lizzie Velasquez (@littlelizziev) on

Filmmaker Sara Hirsch Bordo followed Velasquez and documented her story.

Big Lizzie, Little Sara!

A photo posted by Lizzie Velasquez (@littlelizziev) on

Check out the full trailer below (You’re going to need a box of tissues):

Are you inspired by Lizzie Velasquez’s story? mitú wants to know. Tell us in the comments below!

Teenager Brutally Attacked At His Middle School Dies After Being Sucker Punched By Classmates

Things That Matter

Teenager Brutally Attacked At His Middle School Dies After Being Sucker Punched By Classmates

A student from Moreno Valley Landmark Middle School has died after being punched on the campus. The 13-year-old boy, identified as Diego, was hospitalized after being beaten up by two classmates on Sept. 16. One week later, the boy has died from his injuries. Two students have been arrested and held in a juvenile detention facility since the attack.

Diego, a 13-year-old middle school student, has died after being beaten up by two classmates while on campus.

Credit: thompsonshearer10 / Instagram

The two students who attacked Diego have been in custody since Sept. 18 and were charged with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. A video of the attack, taken by other students, shows Diego standing still with his arms at his side when one of the students lunges for him and punches him in the face. In the video, Diego is seen collapsing as another student punches him once more before he falls to the ground and hits his head on a pillar.

One of the unnamed attackers has a hearing scheduled for Oct. 2 and the other will attend a pre-trial hearing on Oct. 15.

The death of Diego is sparking grief and anger on social media over the bullying he endured.

Credit: @Malcalaxo / Twitter

“Our community and the Moreno Valley Unified School District family has suffered an immeasurable loss,” Martinrex Kedziora, Moreno Valley Unified School District superintendent, said at a press conference. “On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of our beloved student.”

His family has shared their heartbreak on social media.

Credit: @SarahitweetsHi / Twitter

News outlets have reported that Diego’s family is currently making plans to have his organs donated following the tragic death. According to reports, Diego’s death has been attributed to being punched and hitting his head against a concrete wall when he fell.

People on social media are sending their condolences to Diego’s family during this sad time.

Credit: @SarahitweetsHi / Twitter

Diego’s death highlights the dangers and consequences of bullying. According to Stomp Out Bullying, 1 in 6 students are bullied in school. In the 21st century, bullying manifests in multiple ways. From cyberbullying to physical attacks, students face a myriad of attacks when they are the victim of bullying.

If you or someone you know is being bullied, speak up and let someone know before things get out of control. Your school should have a protocol in place to address the bullying before things get violent.

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

Entertainment

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

We all know by now that is no “one way” to be Latinx. Latinos come in a variety of forms, from Black to white, tall to short, descended from Indigenous, African, and European populations. And while Roman Catholicism may be the dominant religion in most of Latinidad, it goes without saying that Latino culture is not a monolith. Latinos practice a variety of religions, from Islam to Buddhism to, yes, Judaism. 

And while most people don’t necessarily think of Judaism when they think of Latin America, there is, in fact, a small but proud population of Jewish Latinos who keep their culture alive through tradition and a strong sense of community. But being a part of such a small community within an already-marginalized community can feel isolating at times. Especially when there are no public role models to see yourself reflected in.

That’s why Tuesday’s news that Disney is debuting a Jewish-Latinx princess sent shock-waves through the internet. 

Walt Disney Television Animation News announced via Twitter that an upcoming Elena of Avalon episode in December would be featuring a “visiting princess” from a “Latino Jewish kingdom”.The as-yet-unnamed princess will be voiced by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the actress famous for her portrayal of Meadow Soprano on HBO’s seminal masterpiece, “The Sopranos”. 

The Tweet also revealed that the princess would also make an appearance in Elana’s “royal coronation special” next year. Although we do not know any further details of Sigler’s character or her storyline, “Elena of Avalor” writer Rachel Ruderman gave a small preview of what’s to come. “A little over a year ago, I had the honor of writing an Elena of Avalor episode featuring Disney’s first Jewish princess,” Ruderman said via Twitter. She continued: “Jamie Lynn Sigler knocks the role out of the park (wait ’till you hear her song!) Can’t wait to share this one”.

In a move of conscious-casting on Disney’s part, Jamie Lynn Sigler herself happens to be both Latina and Jewish–a giant step for a media giant that can sometimes miss the mark with casting.

Raised by a Jewish father and a Cuban mother, Sigler grew up in New York City as part of a multicultural family.In the past, Sigler has talked about being raised Jewish–attending Hebrew school, having a Bat Mitzvah, and even going on a Birth Right trip to Israel in 2008. 

This episode can serve as an educational experience for many people (including those of Latinx descent) who are unaware that Jewish Latinos even exist. In fact, what some people might not even know, is that the term “Sephardic” (a term used to describe Jewish people of European descent) literally means “of Spain or Portuguese descent” in old Hebrew. In other words, it’s not a stretch to imagine a character of both Latin and Jewish roots on our TV screens. In fact, it’s completely historically plausible!

Naturally, both the Latinx and Jewish Twitter population is super excited at this groundbreaking news.

As we mentioned before, the acknowledgment of Jewish Latinos in popular culture is such a rarity. When the media shines a spotlight on such a marginalized group of people, the advent is worth celebrating. And even though changes are slow in the making, any progress on the representation front is a step in the right direction.

Jamie Lynn Sigler herself expressed her excitement at the news, calling to attention the novelty of her position:

Yes, it’s exciting that the Jewish Latinx population has finally gotten some princess representation, but it’s still a little bit frustrating that we had to wait until 2019 for a Jewish princess. We have a long way to go.

This Latina Jew was incredibly excited at the prospect of having the chance to see her own unique lifestyle reflected onscreen:

The self-styled “Jewyorican” is one of many New York-based Puerto-Rican Jews who identify fully with both cultures. It’s not as rare as people think.

Some Latinx Jews took to Twitter to give some suggestions on how Disney could go about bringing the new character to life:

This Hispanic Linguistics Professor suggested incorporating the ancient Judeo-Spanish language of Ladino into the show. 

This multi-cultural woman celebrated the inclusion of multiple cultures in one character:

Families like hers are the way of the future–at least according to statistics. Although many media outlets still see American families in black and white, the rest of us living our lives know that our identities are increasingly a hodgepodge of cultures. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.