Lizzie Velasquez Joins Congresswoman Linda Sanchez in Support of 1st Federal Anti-Bullying Bill

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"The Lizzie Project" documentary follows Velasquez as she joins Rep. Linda Sánchez in efforts to bring the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) to House Floor for vote by year's end.

Lizzie Velasquez Heads to Capitol Hill

"I just couldn't believe that there isn't a federal bill that supports anti-bullying measures in every school in every state," says Velasquez.

Lizzie Velasquez, whose 2013 TEDxAustinWomen talk garnered over 10 million views, has joined Congresswoman Linda Sánchez to help bring the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA), the first ever federal anti-bullying bill, onto a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. Their efforts will be highlighted in the forthcoming "The Lizzie Project" documentary, which will follow Lizzie as she lobbies to obtain the remaining supporters the bill needs.

Authored by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, the Safe Schools Improvement Act helps raise awareness about the effects of bullying and the importance of taking anti-bullying measures in schools. If enacted, the bill would require schools to adopt anti-bullying guidelines and teach students about the detrimental effects of bullying.

Velasquez will participate in various events in D.C. from September 7th - September 10th, including her first public Meet Up, an official briefing with Congress and one-on-one meetings with members to urge them to support SSIA.

"I just couldn't believe that there isn't a federal bill that supports anti-bullying measures in every school in every state. Congresswoman Sánchez has been working for more than eight years to get Congressional support of SSIA and I hope that telling my story in person will help her get the support she needs in time," said Velasquez.

Introduced in each session of Congress for the past eight years, the Safe Schools Improvement Act needs 218 signatures to be granted a vote on the House floor.    

"Students deserve a safe school environment where they can focus on learning and not worry about being harassed. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would require schools to adopt guidelines that prohibit bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender, race, or a disability," said Congresswoman Sánchez. "With a record 204 current co-sponsors this year, we are closer to giving students the promise of safer schools. We need a few more members of Congress to join us in taking a stand against bullying."

On Sunday, September 7th, Velasquez is hosting her first a public MeetUp, which is open to anyone who wants to meet her and discuss SSIA. The event will be held at The Hamilton in downtown D.C. from 2pm - 4pm. Joining Velasquez will be Tina Meier, mother of bullying victim Megan Meier, who founded a foundation in the name of her daughter to create awareness, education and promote positive change to children, parents and educators in response to the ongoing bullying and cyber bullying in our children's daily environment. "As I travel throughout the country speaking to students in K-12 schools, I see and hear the students’ daily struggles when dealing with bullying and cyberbullying. I also see that schools struggle because there are so many differences in state laws and school policies. It's important that we have more consistent and accurate accounting of bullying in schools so that each child is able to receive an education and ultimately reach their full potential,” said Meier.

In conjunction with her efforts in D.C., Velasquez has also launched a nation-wide social media campaign, asking her fans to pressure members of Congress who are not currently co-sponsors of SSIA to show their support for the legislation. Fans can find out if their Member of Congress is a co-sponsor of the bill by visiting Lizzie's Fan Page and making their voices heard. Additionally, fans can take to social media and help raise awareness by tweeting messages of support, tagging @RepLindaSanchez and using the hashtag #EndBullyingSSIA.

About “The Lizzie Project”
From the Producers of the most viewed 2013 TEDxWomen event, comes a documentary based on 25 year old, 58 pound, Lizzie Velasquez. Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Lizzie was first bullied as a child in school for looking different and later online as a teenager when she discovered a YouTube video with 4 million views labeling her “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” Lizzie’s story proves that there is life on the other side of bullying and that self-worth and compassion are essential in getting there. The film chronicles unheard stories and details of Lizzie’s physical and emotional journey up to her multi-million viewed TEDxAustinWomen talk, and follows her pursuit from an event speaker to Capitol Hill activist, hoping to help the issue of bullying reach a higher road.

About Women Rising
Women Rising creates media and experiences to empower girls and women worldwide. In 2013, Women Rising was behind the production and programming of TEDxAustinWomen, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The event succeeded with outstanding viewership numbers and raised awareness to an online audience that reached 12.5 million people. Currently, as producers of the official documentary based on the life of Lizzie Velasquez, currently titled "The Lizzie Project," Women Rising will oversee every aspect of the film from development to production to distribution.

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Ngoc Nguyen
Head of Publicity & Partnerships
Women Rising

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Ngoc Nguyen
Women Rising
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