Warning: This story and its video contain details that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.
Large crowds turned out Sunday at a drive-by rally in support of a 13-year-old B.C. girl seen being attacked in a video shot on school grounds, to show her she has the community’s backing and that bullying will not be tolerated.
One by one, beginning at 2:30 p.m., cars full of supporters pulled in at the staging area of the Mission Raceway, all united by outrage at the incident, while motivated by hope.
“No child deserves to be treated that way,” said one attendee. “Hopefully, we’re going to create a chain reaction that’s going to create a change in the world.”
The incident happened on Monday Jan. 11 at Ecole Heritage Park Middle School in Mission.
Two teen girls were arrested last week, after the video circulated on social media. Two people can be seen kicking and punching the victim, while a crowd of onlookers laughs, jeers and encourages them.
No one steps in to intervene.
“Very upsetting that no one stepped in or anything,” said another rally supporter. “I wonder if we’ve just kind of been desensitized, through mainstream media or video games, or whatever it is, I don’t know. But there’s something wrong, and it needs to be fixed.”
The victim’s mother told Global News last week that her daughter has faced bullying for months, despite the school’s effort to help.
She says she believes her daughter was targeted because she identifies as transgender.
Organizers of the rally had asked people to wear pink and rainbow shirts to show their support.
The rally began in the air with a fly-by, followed by hundreds of vehicles rolling down the Fraser River just past the spot where the victim and her family watched.
“It’s very, very surprising that so many people love someone that they never met,” said the unidentified girl victimized in the video, “But I’m very grateful for it, because I felt like I didn’t have people that loved me. And with this thing happening, it just warms me.”
– With files from Paul Johnson