The cruel words of children can be the worst, when a child is trying to understand who they are in this world of so many people. Kids can shun a child and leave a kid feeling just as alone as those whose tribes shunned them into death. Usually, though, the child does not die. Usually. Unfortunately, since his election, Donald Trump has unleashed any inhibitions many people have had against bullying and hate speech, and that includes children.
McKenzie Adams had to go into her fourth-grade classroom every day and face a class that bullied her, since school began. Words matter. We live into expectations that words shape. We believe words of promise and hope. Words can also kill.
When people say “kill yourself,” or “just die,” the words embed themselves into a person’s consciousness, child or adult, where they fester and eat away at confidence and any hope of change. They are every bit as painful as the cancer they imitate.
McKenzie was a beautiful nine-year-old. Yet, her classmates told her “you ugly.” What could this little girl have become if she had a chance to grow into her full potential? Whose lives would she have touched with her gentleness and sensitivity? How could she have changed the worlds of others, for surely she understood pain that became unbearable.
She should have been riding her bike and playing with dolls. Yet, instead of buying McKenzie Christmas presents, her family has been choosing a casket and planning a funeral for this little one. Her grandmother found McKenzie where she had hung herself.
McKenzie’s aunt Eddwina Harris is an Atlanta television host who wants to use her venue to spread the anti-bullying message and to point the way forward for children who feel helpless. She also wants to help families who have experienced the same tragedy. Harris said, according to NBC News:
‘She was being bullied the entire school year, with words such as “kill yourself,” “‘you think you’re white because you ride with that white boy,” “you ugly,” “black b-tch,” “just die.”’
McKenzie’s aunt described McKenzie, born August 14, 2009, as:
‘Pretty and smart with an outgoing personality, she loved math and science and wanted to be a scientist. She liked to cheer, take photos and make funny videos with her cousins. She was learning to play PlayStation 4 games with her cousin and she loved to travel. Her favorite places were the beach, the zoo, the McWane Center in Birmingham, and she loved visiting family members.’
Her mother and grandmother reported the bullying to the State Board of Education. The people there recommended that McKenzie transfer to another school, and she did, but the damage was already done. Harris said:
“It’s an emotional roller-coaster. God has blessed me to help others with my platform, and now it’s time to help. There are so many voiceless kid. God is opening great doors for justice for my niece.’
What was the reason behind the bullying? Some bullying has no reason. Other times, as in McKenzie’s case, she was just a friend to a little white boy, Harris said.
The funeral will be held at McKenzie’s new elementary school in Demopolis.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.