Former HALO Honoree Emily-Anne Rigal Stops Hate In Its Tracks
2011 Halo honoree Emily-Anne Rigal has no patience for bullies. After being put-down as a young girl, Emily decided enough was enough. In 2010, Emily-Anne founded and created WeStopHate.org, a teen-run website that tackles bullying through the viral power of social media videos. If you haven't heard of WeStopHate.org, let us enlighten you: the non-profit movement has grown to unimaginable heights. We caught up with the superstar HALO-er herself, and here's what she had to say!
What have you been doing since the HALO awards?
In addition to our social media initiatives, WeStopHate has expanded our program offline, by creating WeStopHate clubs in schools across the country. Any teenager can go to WeStopHate.org/clubs to download information about starting a WeStopHate club in their school!
What has been one of your favorite achievements since joining/starting your organization?
After the HALO Awards, Newsweek ranked me on their 2012 list of the "150 Most Fearless Women in the World" alongside my heroes like Hillary Clinton and Oprah. I was so honored to be included on this list!
October is National Bully Month, what are you doing to help get word out about WeStopHate.org?
WeStopHate received a $50,000 grant from Peace First this month and to celebrate, we were featured on The TODAY Show.
What advice do you give to teens who have been bullied?
We can never underestimate the importance of being open about our experiences. Even though it is difficult to share what you are going through, I feel strongly that having one-on-one conversations with people in your life who you trust is a good way to figure out how you can rise above the bullies.
What advice to you have for teens who bully?
I think it's important for bullies to realize that they are most likely bullying because they are dealing with their own issues and insecurities. I advise bullies to focus their energy on doing something they love (like playing a sport or making YouTube videos) because doing things that make us feel good will stop the bullying cycle.