Velésquez wants schools to join the fight, too

By Diana Pearl
Updated September 30, 2015 05:55 PM

There are some very, very familiar faces among the countless supporters rallying for Lizzie Velésquez.

Kylie Jenner. Bryce Dallas Howard. Kristen Bell. Brandon Rush. Zachary Quinto. America Ferrera – and we’re just getting started.

In honor of the start of National Bullying Prevention Month, these celebs came together for Velésquez, a motivational speaker, activist and subject of the documentary A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velésquez Story. Also joining the cause for the video (watch above): Chris Hemsworth, Sara Bareilles, Michelle Phan, Octavia Spencer, Katie Couric, Tori Kelly, Kacey Musgraves, Derek Hough, Dr. Oz and Zachary Levi, who pledge that they’re “with Lizzie.”

Velésquez, who has a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, was inspired to start the fight against bullying after seeing herself featured in a YouTube video labeling her the “World’s Ugliest Woman.” The comments on the video were cruel, saying “EWWW WHAT A MONSTER!!!!” or “She should NOT have been BORN!!!”

Now, she’s spearheading the effort behind the Safe Schools Improvement Act, a federal bill that would mandate schools prohibit bulling and other forms of harassment in their codes of conduct, as well as include these incidents in annual school safety reports when they do occur.

“The U.S. still has no federal anti-bullying bill,” Velésquez says in the video. “It has been nine years and counting. It is time to get their attention.”

A Brave Heart, directed by Sara Bordo, chronicles Velésquez’s life around the time of her famed TED Talk and her journey to get the Safe Schools Improvement Act passed in congress. The film can currently be viewed various On Demand platforms including iTunes, Amazon Video and, with a library card, on Hoopla Digital. The film is also available to individuals, educators, communities and organizations that want to host their own screenings in schools or theaters via