Oct 18, 2012 / 8:14 pm
Like many people his age, 17-year-old Seth Bergen heard about Amanda Todd's suicide through social media, the same medium that was used to exploit and torment the young teen before she took her own life.
And like many people his age, the very public discussion about Todd's life and death â€” online, in the news and at school â€” has forced Bergen to think about the impact bullying has on his peers.
"I think a lot of people get bullied, and it's not often seen; it's often in the shadows," Bergen said after attending a We Day event in Vancouver, where the issue of bullying and Todd's story figured prominently.
"I think it's good that they're bringing light to that. A lot of the time, the people that are being bullied are hurting a lot more than they show, and the bullying makes it a lot worse."
We Day events are held across Canada to encourage youth to be engaged in the world around them, with music and dance performances intertwined with speeches from the likes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former basketball star Magic Johnson, both of whom spoke at the Vancouver event on Thursday.
Bullying is already a major theme at We Day, and a week after Todd's suicide made headlines around the world, it's an issue several speakers at Thursday's event addressed, including including Johnson, musician and anti-bullying advocate Demi Lovato, and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark.
Todd, who was from Port Coquitlam, B.C., took her own life last week after enduring years of Internet sexual exploitation and bullying by her peers. A month earlier, she posted a video on YouTube that described how an incident in which she was lured to expose her breasts on a webcam set her down a path of anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol abuse.
Clark, a former radio host who became an advocate for "Pink Shirt Day" before her recent return to politics, paid tribute to Todd on stage at We Day.
"I'm wearing pink today in her memory," Clark told a stadium filled with thousands of grade school students from across B.C.
"Amanda left us a video record of what it felt like. And she did that because she wants each of us to remember her, that she needed someone to stand up."
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