A Utah boy was escorted home by hundreds of schoolmates and community members after a group of bullies had previously threatened him and shouted racial slurs at him.
According to local NBC affiliate, WHOTV, Mateus Romualdo called his mom in a panic after he was harassed while walking home from Viewmont Elementary located in Murray.
“He was walking home from school last Thursday when a car full of teenagers drove by repeatedly yelling a racial slur at him,” the boy’s mother, Heather Romualdo said. “He felt very terrified and actually told me he thought the kids were going to shoot him.”
The mother shared the details of the traumatic incident on Facebook. The post garnered a lot of attention and eventually reached the boy’s youth basketball coach, Troy Harlan, who empathized with the situation.
“I know that when I read the post that his mom wrote about him being scared, I've gone through all that," Harlan said. “I grew up in Davis County and I know what it feels like to be one of only two black kids at my school.”
Harlan decided to organize a walk for Mateus on Wednesday so that he wouldn’t have to be afraid going home after school. Hundreds of community members participated, including the Utah Jazz mascot and retired Jazz player Thurl Bailey.
“The message I want to happen is that people need to be held accountable,” Harlan said. “You're not born to hate people, you're taught to hate people. I don't care what color you are, we are all the same. ”
This march was a beautiful display of solidarity that came out of something ugly, which goes to show that hope for humanity is alive. This is also a heartwarming reminder that although it seems our society is inundated with hate, there is so much more love to behold.