This past week, Jonah Mowry’s emotional video, ‘What’s goin on…’ went viral. If you have been living under a rock, let me get you up to speed: a 13-year-old boy recorded a YouTube video about the emotional turmoil that he has faced as a bullied child at school. In the description of his video, he writes “I’m not going to kill myself but…”, referencing the gross number of teen suicides relating to bullying that have occurred over the past few years.
In a series of hand written notes, Jonah tells his story of facing bullying every day at school. He says that he is scared to start the eight grade because his friends are moving on to high school. He admits to cutting. He admits that suicide has been an option more than once. But, then he flips three cards that read, “I’m not going anywhere…I’m stronger than that…I have a million reasons to be here.”
It is almost impossible to watch Jonah’s video without shedding a tear. The sadness and the strength that pour out of this boy’s message is absolutely overwhelming. I was thrilled to see the immediate outpouring of support for Jonah and his video when at least 15 people on my personal Facebook shared it.
Unfortunately, we live in a cruel world. A few days after the video went viral, many critics questioned Jonah’s intentions. Other videos on Jonah’s YouTube channel show him much happier, laughing and with friends. Again, the internet was in a frenzy, with video responses and opinion pieces saying that Jonah was a liar; someone just looking for attention.
If you actually look closely at Jonah’s original video, you can see that it was filmed and posted in August, before the start of 2011-2012 school year. Jonah has since explained that after posting the video he has sought counselling and made friends at school. Some of his bullies saw the video and apologized. He’s in a much better place. For all of these reasons, I couldn’t be happier; it proves that it CAN get better. But why should he have had to tell us that? Why is this defense even needed?
It’s painful to me that anyone would have the audacity to question this young man’s validity in the first place. The message of the video was incredible. It sheds a truly honest light onto the extremely detrimental effects of bullying, from a first hand perspective. So, instead of embracing and celebrating Jonah and the message, at the first sign that a previously suicidal teen is happy, people jumped at the chance to chastise him (yet again). Are you kidding me!?
We should be rejoicing that another young life was not lost to suicide. We should celebrate the fact that Jonah’s video has touched so many people around the world. We should thank him for having the strength to post his message in a public forum that has undoubtedly helped other teens who are struggling with bullies and depression.
Inspiration. Hope. Love.
Those are the sentiments that should be pouring onto Jonah now. We need to rally behind him, and all our youth for that matter. We need to reassure them that their lives are worth living, and that there really are a million reasons to keep on going. That we support them, no matter what, and that we will not take bullying lightly…in a nutshell.
I hope that all of our readers take the time to watch Jonah’s video and share his inspirational message.