The story of Michael Morones, an 11-year-old boy from North Carolina who attempted suicide in January because he was bullied over his love of My Little Pony, has touched so many people. Local Columbus Ohio Drag Queen Vivian Von Brokenhymen was one of them. When Vivian heard Michael's story memories of her childhood came rushing back to her.
I was bullied without mercy for the entirety of my elementary school years and a good chunk of my high school years. As you can imagine I have very little tolerance for bullies today. I can't imagine what those years would have been like had my haters had the power of social media to have continued their bullying once I was safely inside my own home. When I read Michael's story, I was just heartbroken. I immediately went to the despair and hopelessness he must have felt as he made up his mind about what he felt he needed to do. That thought brings tears to my eyes, as I don't believe anyone's final thoughts should be of sadness, despair and hopelessness.
Vivian's friend, Paul Richmond, a local artist had the same reaction after hearing Michael's story.
I was bullied relentlessly in school and struggled with self-esteem issues all throughout my childhood. Everyone should be free to celebrate the things they love without fear of becoming a target. That's why we started #ArtForMichael. We wanted to send a message loud and clear that even though this young boy felt completely alone, there are so many people who care. I hope it provides support and encouragement for the entire Morones family, as well as other young people who hear about what we're doing and may feel the same way Michael felt. It's time for us all to take a stand.
When Vivian learned of her friend's Art for Michael project, she saw an opportunity to lend her unique style of art to the cause. Several discussions with Paul later and "Art + Drag for Michael" was born, a benefit being held on May 30 in Columbus Ohio at Circus Restaurant and Bar. Art + Drag for Michael will showcase My Little Pony inspired art work submitted to the Art for Michael project along with performances by local entertainers. All proceeds from the event will go towards Michael's medical bills and The Michael Morones Foundation.
Through generous donations and support the event will be able to bring Michael's mother, Tiffany Morones-Suttle, to Columbus so she can speak at the event and receive the hardbound book of all the artwork that was submitted to the Art for Michael project.
Naturally, Vivian feels strongly.
This event provides a very public reference point for parents everywhere to have conversations with their children. Some may be the victims and others may be the tormentors, both need help, love, and understanding to recover from whichever side of the situation they are on. This is our chance to do our best to prevent the next Michael Morones, an 11-year-old boy with a lifetime before him, to think that taking his life as the only way out. There are thousands of Michael's out there... and it's not if they will attempt suicide, it's when.