Students, school groups and youth organizations are being encouraged to participate in an anti-bullying initiative called Nebraska Stand for the Silent on April 20.
As of last week, 40,000 people across the state had signed up to participate in a seven-second moment of silence, anti-bullying pledge and balloon release to raise awareness about the problem, said Heather Millard of Homer, Neb., an event organizer.
Gov. Dave Heineman on Wednesday signed a proclamation naming the day. Several Husker student-athletes, including football player Rex Burkhead, have filmed an anti-bullying public service announcement that is posted on YouTube.
Millard said she contacted Kirk Smalley, president of Stand for the Silent, after hearing him speak in Homer.
Smalley, an Oklahoman, founded the anti-bullying group after his 11-year-old son committed suicide in 2010, reportedly after years of bullying at school.
Millard works in South Sioux City, Neb., under an AmeriCorps-affiliated grant.
She said the event will give schools and other groups another opportunity to educate students about bullying.
The pledge essentially calls on youths to respect themselves and those around them.
"Sometimes it's hard to stand up against the bully, even if you're not particularly involved," she said.
Oriental Trading Co. has donated 360,000 biodegradable latex balloons for the event, enough for every student in Nebraska.
Groups still can register online to participate. Click here to find more information on how to register and how to sign the "Stand for the Silent" pledge, and to learn more about AmeriCorps.
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