Everett teen creates anti-bullying campaign
EVERETT — Sixteen-year-old MacKenzie Haarlow had a rough past.
As a preteen, she was bullied to the extent of having to
leave her middle school. Now, as a sophomore in an online high school, she is taking the issue of bullying head-on with an anti-bullying social media campaign to support her platform.
Haarlow is Miss Everett’s Outstanding Teen. Her campaign, “Weigh It Before You Say It,” challenges people to post a picture online with a sign that says #WeighItBeforeYouSayIt and using that hashtag in the text of the online post as well. Her goal is two-fold: to raise awareness on bullying, and create a viral trend, similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that circulated a few years ago.
“Weigh It Before You Say It,” Haarlow said, is another way to say “think before you speak.”
Because Haarlow is part of the Miss Washington circuit, she takes on platforms to advocate for. Haarlow has always worked on anti-bullying platforms because it is something that she had to deal with to a “really devastating point.”
She spreads her message at schools, libraries, bookstores and as many places as she can. Her long-time goal for the campaign is to get a picture with Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres and Doug Baldwin Jr. of the Seattle Seahawks, because they all advocate for the same cause.
Miss Everett’s Outstanding Teen is a preliminary round for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Competition. Miss Washington’s Outstanding Teen is the next step.
Michelle Cundiff met Haarlow through the Miss Washington organization. Haarlow is a mentor to Cundiff’s daughter Ashley, who is also a part of the Miss Washington scholarship organization.
“I am 100 percent behind this campaign,” Cundiff said. “Bullying is never okay and is a huge problem today. (The campaign) has been a great way to bring up the problem by simply having Ashley ask her friends to please take a picture with her holding up her ‘#WeighItBeforeYouSayIt’ sign.”
According to Haarlow, last year a large amount of kids between grades 9-12 stayed home from school because they said that they were bullied. She added that, “a lot of the time students won’t tell their parents about being bullied because they’re afraid of it becoming a tattletale situation, and there is a difference between being a tattletale and expressing that someone is hurting you.”
If Haarlow could go back and speak with her middle school self, she would say, “don’t listen to the bully, you’re the bigger person. They’re just picking on you because they are not confident in themselves, and it’s all going to be okay.”
You can tweet to Haarlow at @MacHaarlow
MacKenzie Haarlow, 16, shows a sign that says #WeighItBeforeYouSayIt earlier this year.
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