Community gathers for anti-bullying rally as 11-year-old boy is laid to rest

Friday, May 17, 2019

McCORMICK COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Friends and family said goodbye to 11-year-old Matthias Elim Thursday night after he took his life from bullying.

The GBI says suicide is the third leading cause of death in Georgia, and in the past year Georgia hospitals have admitted more than 1,000 kids for suicide-related causes

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. But that is a lie. Words can kill you," said Joy Turman, who coordinated a rally for Matthias. "You never know when somebody's breaking point is and that one word that you say may be the end of that person's life."

ANiya Gray was a friend of Matthias'. She says she had no idea what he was feeling.

"He used to always smile, so you never knew what was wrong with him," said ANiya.

Matthias is finally at rest.

"I feel like it's going to be hard because he's not here," ANiya cried at the funeral. "That's why I mostly got emotional because we were going through the same path."

11-year-old ANiya was almost another life taken.

"I started getting bullied in second grade and I keep my stuff in, so I didn't tell my mama that I was getting bullied."

Instead, she wrote it down -- what she was feeling and thinking of doing.

"I didn't want to be in this world. I just wanted to die," ANiya said.

"It makes you think about what other 11-year-olds are going through that same thing, and what can we do," Turman told us.

That's why Turman put together this anti-bully rally.

"[For us] to see young peoples' lives being cut short because of words and actions of other kids is just horrible," Turman said. "One hurts, we all hurt and we come together for the cause."

Marching along Highway 28 in McCormick, they held signs and wore t-shirts. And after losing her friend, ANiya is taking a stand too.

"Stop bullying, today, now."

And with a little encouragement, the goal is to remind kids their life matters, and people do care.​

"I am great, I am beautiful!"​

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