Ms. Lizzie Velasquez is a young lady with a mission. She wants to put the kibosh on internet bullying. If anyone can tackle this ginormous task, it’s this little cutie. Lizzie spoke at a TED talk this past December. The talk went viral and now she’s on FIRE. She is a force for good, a force to be reckoned with. I’m with Lizzie and you will be too. I wish you the best of luck not falling head-over-heels in love with her, that is, if you aren’t already.
Lizzie is one of three people in the world with a rare syndrome that doesn’t allow here to gain weight. Her syndrome is so very rare that it doesn’t even have a name. In her 25 yrs she hasn’t weighed more than 64 lbs. She’s lost sight in her right eye and because she’s so small, is extremely susceptible to getting sick. But Lizzie can handle that. She’s been dealing with her condition since the day she was born. What she couldn’t handle was what she found, one afternoon, while tooling around on YouTube. Lizzie mindlessly clicked on a video thumbnail. What popped up was a video titled “The Ugliest Woman in the World.” It was 6 seconds long. It had over 4 million views. It had no sound. The woman in the video was Lizzie. She began to read the comments:
“Ew, kill it with fire!!! Now!”
“Go and die now!!!”
“Will you please do the world a favor? Put a gun to your head and kill yourself.”
Lizzie was destroyed, as any of us would be. How could all of these people who didn’t know her say such horrific and hateful things? Lucky for us, that hurt turned into anger and that anger turned into a mission. That mission was NOT to be defined by the way she looked. Lizzie was going to be defined by her accomplishments. Lizzie wanted to be an author, an inspirational speaker, graduate college and have a family. She’s knocked out two books with a third on the way, has a degree and is a legit motivational speaker. Having a family is still a box that needs a check, but seeing how this girl goes after what she wants it’s only a matter of time.
Lizzie didn’t have “film star” on her list but she’s going to need to add another box. TEDxAustinWomen executive producer, Sarah Bordo, was so blown away by Lizzie that she approached her about making a documentary. The documentary will follow Lizzie’s journey to the other side of bullying, and her mission to inspire a more positive online world. Because of the outpouring of support this project has received, they met their initial Kickstarter goal of $180,000, 6 days before the deadline, which is pretty insane. They are going to use the final days to attempt to raise a total of $360,000. This money will go towards post production. Film editing, music, distribution efforts etc.
Skip a latte and kick in $5 towards this extremely worthy project. We need to change the landscape of what’s acceptable to post on the internet. We all need to become accountable for our actions and our words and what we put out into the universe. We need Lizzie’s help.
During her TED talk, Lizzie challenged all of us with the question: What defines you as a person? It’s a question that bounces off the walls of your brain and circles your heart and vibrates against your soul. Lizzie has been tackling that question for a very long time. She has her answer. Do you have yours?