MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of students in the City of Miami took a pledge against violence Friday.

More than 700 fifth graders from nine area schools raised their right hands and made a victory pledge against violence and bullying at the rally at Jungle Island.

The commitment comes with a message and a mission.

“No fighting and don’t bully.”

For 10-year Ashely Mejia, who has been bullied herself, said she knows the pain all too well.

“It feels very depressing,” said Mejia. “You feel like you’re the only one who understands yourself.”

Ashely’s friends and family helped her move forward.

Friday, as part of the youth rally, she led her class in the anti-violence presentation to help educate others.

“This is the time that they start to get into their feelings and start feeling different things and react in different ways. It’s important for them to learn how to work those problems out,” said 5th grade teacher Tonya Barns.

Students also shared poems, sang and even rapped expressions against violence.

Young Ashely had a message for kids and teens who are experiencing bullying or violence.

“Tell your mom and dad and tell them you feel bad because it’s just going to get worse and worse,” she said.

The “Back Without A Bang” Youth Rally Against Violence was created by the Do The Right Thing Program to respond to the ever-increasing, national problem of school violence.

The “Victory Against Violence” pledge was led by Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa.

“Hopefully we can create a different mindset in our youth that violence is really not the way and it’s not necessary,” said Chief Orosa.

Event attendees wore “I Took the Pledge” t-shirts, and received a miniature, laminated copy of the pledge.

All of the students also signed a giant, 4 foot by 8 foot copy of the pledge which will be sent to Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Now, organizers hope the students will take their commitment and share it with friends and family.


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