Dozens of passionate activists crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday, June 11, rallying to bring attention to the scourge of bullying.
The group, 60 people strong, began its event in City Hall Park at 11 a.m. and brought it to a close in Brooklyn’s Columbus Park, adjacent to Borough Hall.
The event, dubbed A Bridge to End Bullying, was sponsored by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the New York State District Kiwanis. Among them was Maureen Fitzpatrick, who addressed the crowd to speak about her adolescent son’s suicide in 2016. Danny Fitzpatrick, who had been a student at Bay Ridge’s Holy Angels Catholic Academy, left behind a note describing the bullying he said he endured.
“It’s my purpose now to share Danny’s story, and educate them on bullying policies,” said his mother. “There is no universal protection. Consistent bullying can make kids turn to the route that my son did, or they may turn to drugs and lose the opportunities they can have in their life.”
Fitzpatrick said if she could speak to those who bully, she would ask them to look at themselves and ask what they gain from harming another person. All for holding a bully accountable, Fitzpatrick said it is critical to get to the root cause.
“For some reason, people hold on to their anger like a security blanket. It has to be coming from somewhere. What we need to do is pinpoint the source of what triggers that person,” she said.
Fitzpatrick — who would like to see the cause become a global movement — contended that when kids see situations where someone is being bullied in school, they should actively participate against it, because it really could save a life.
As for the walk, she said, “It felt encouraging. Especially with the young kids, they want to spread kindness and empathy. Education is a tool to get where you want to go, but a good heart will make you a good person.”