Starkville family urges people to “stop bullying”

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- A Starkville family is urging people to stop bullying.

Laoneda Carpenter puts on “Mariah Day” every year to honor her daughter who was a victim of bullying.

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Carpenter said she wants to take Mariah’s tragedy and turn it into something positive.

“This here. This is what helps me continue, try to continue to make her voice be heard,” said Carpenter.

Mariah died in April of 2017.

Now her mother spends her days sharing Mariah’s story.

“I have a non-profit organization which is called Mariah’s Voice. Mariah’s Voice is what I do. I travel. I go from different churches, different events, different places, different states, and I speak about Mariah and I tell Mariah’s story,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter said she plans this day every year with hopes of bringing more positivity to her community.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to bullying. We’re trying to stop bullying. Today we want a bullying-free world. It’s all about a bullying-free world. Let everybody know that it’s time to spread love and not hate. We’ve got to come together as a community, as a family, as one and teach and raise our kids the right way,” said Carpenter.

“We would like to see the whole community just come together and bring more awareness to bullying and suicide,” said Mariah’s Uncle Gerod Ellis.

Organizers said the event is for everyone to come and enjoy, especially children.

“Just to talk with the kids and give the kids a nice fun day to just come and enjoy. A lot of Mariah’s friends are here, so this gives them an opportunity to really commemorate the passing of her. The kids really enjoy it and we just enjoy putting this day on for the community,” said Ellis.

“We all can be together and have a good time and not be jealous of one another. Raise our kids and let our kids know it’s ok to play with one another no matter what color they are, no matter how big, if they’re black, if they’re white, no matter what,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter said she hopes those in attendance remember one thing when they leave.

“Reach out to someone. Don’t allow this to happen to anybody else,” said Carpenter.

Organizers also said they hope to move Mariah Day to a bigger and better location next year.

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