Please let Anna Mendez know her son’s story saved my son’s life.
— OC Register reader

Daniel Mendez.

A kind brother, a loving son, an athlete, an honor roll student, avid football fan, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a boy scout who loved to camp and rock climb, loved to ski, snowboard and skateboard, guitar player, trumpet player and above all, a peace activist.  Smart, funny, kind. The world at his feet.

We gotta make change. It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes. Let’s change the way we live, let’s change the way we eat, and let’s change the way we treat each other. You see, the old way wasn’t working, so it’s on us to do what we gotta do to survive.
— Tupac Shakur (a quote Daniel kept on his bedroom wall)

On May 1, 2009, after years of abuse and no longer able to withstand the ongoing torment of the bullying, after school on a sunny day in San Clemente California, Daniel Mendez is driven to ending his life.

He was 16 years old.

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Grassroots Peace Activism Spurred by Daniel's Death

Daniel's classmates start Cool 2 Be Kind, a club promoting peace and combating bullying on campus.

The club organizes activities, marches, dances and other events in Daniel's memory to bring awareness to the serious dangers of bullying. After years of work, C2BK is awarded the Ambassadors of Peace Award from the Orange County Anti-Violence Coalition, in addition to receiving Commendation from the Mayor of San Clemente.

Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Victoria Mendez, Daniel's younger sister, enrolls in the same high school determined to take a leadership role in C2BK. The group becomes even more effective through marches, campaigns, public speaking events, and advocating for changes in anti-bullying legislation.

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The Cool 2 Be Kind movement has expanded well past one school. Since Daniel's death, over sixty Cools 2 Be Kind chapters have begun in the U.S., Nicaragua, Honduras, and Scotland. Learn how you can start your own Cool 2 Be Kind chapter at your school!
If you want to know more about C2BK, please visit their website.

Anna Mendez, a mom driven by the untimely passing of her son, starts an organization called NAPAB to advocate for victims of bullying. After Daniel’s death, the lack of awareness among educators and doctors about the gravity of bullying becomes particularly disturbing. Statistics are staggering. Children from all races, color, creed, gender and socioeconomic groups are affected. No one is immune. Anna knows from personal experience that bullying, often thought to be harmless and falls under the radar, devastates too many school aged children, is preventable and can lead to suicide. Yet some still do not want to acknowledge it.

Email Daniel wrote to his doctor: “High school is a war zone - kill or be killed. Make fun of someone or get made fun of. I’m still trying to cope with not allowing other people to get to me. People talk crap to me because they know they can and they know I won’t do anything about it. I would if I could but I can’t.”

 

Doctor's intake notes.  After Daniel's death, same doctor states he did not know about bullying.  

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We learn from Daniel's story that bullying can be stopped.
Thousands of children suffer, even die, from a preventable cause.

May Daniel's death, and too many other children’s deaths, not be in vain.
It's time to speak up together to stop bullying.
It's time to educate the people around us, so that we can save the hundreds of thousands of children out there just like Daniel.

 

The very hallway where Daniel was bullied, two years after his death. Students are now combating bullying with kindness.

The very hallway where Daniel was bullied, two years after his death. Students are now combating bullying with kindness.