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  • Kathryn Patterson

Amanda Todd is Dead.

Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old teenage girl living in Canada.  On September 7, 2012, she posted this video of herself, silently telling the story of her bullying through note cards. On October 12, 2012, Amanda Todd killed herself.  I'm not repeating her story here, but you can read about it yourself on SourceFed, or just google "Amanda Todd" and pick a story.  What I want to tell you is the story about a friend of mine who also committed suicide. I first met Traci Birmingham in seventh grade.  We were is almost every class together, including working as assistants in the dean's office.  Traci and I became best friends; she slept over at my house several times.  Then one day, Traci showed me a piece of paper that said, "Sign here if you hate Kay Yoder".  Everyone I knew signed it, including Traci. I stopped talking to Traci after that; I felt so hurt and confused.  I even stopped attending school; I missed something like 30 out of 45 days.  No one really noticed, though, because I maintained a straight A average despite the absences. It wasn't until 11th grade that I spoke to Traci again.  We were in the same classes again.  One day, she approached me and apologized for what she did.  For a brief moment I felt like throwing her apology back at her, but I learned that grudges hurt me more than they hurt other people.  So I accepted her apology and we became friends again.  We talked in school, and I remember wishing her happiness after we graduated. The next time I heard of Traci Birmingham, it was of her death.  She went to Emory University, here in Atlanta, and killed herself at the age of 19. I grieved for Traci; I knew that she had a horrid home life, there is a reason she always slept over at my house and not the other way around.  I also knew that there was nothing I could do that would have saved her, because I did not know that something was that wrong until it was too late. But Amanda Todd put out one of the biggest cries for help that I have ever seen, and

NO ONE HELPED HER.   No one told her that she was valuable, and that what happened will eventually fade from importance.  Or tried to be her friend, or simply listen to her and say, "I understand.".  No one took the time to see, really see Amanda, really see how she was feeling and really see that she was so depressed that she felt like living was harder than dying. No one told her that living can be harder than dying, but living will be worth the effort as she grows up. Now, she will never grow up.  But maybe, just maybe, Amanda Todd can still change the world. Maybe someone will remember Amanda and then reach out to another person in distress. Maybe someone will remember Amanda and choose the nicer, kinder path over the mean one. Maybe we as a society will decide to listen to each other a bit more, care a bit more, and support each other. Otherwise, Amanda Todd will have suffered for nothing.  

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