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Dare to Be Kind in An Unkind World

Lizzie Velasquez has weathered the cruelty of online bullying, but responds with kindness. Now she's showing people how to change the world through compassion. Read Transcript


[MUSIC PLAYING]

Someone posted a video calling me the world's ugliest woman.

Over four million views.

I saw the comments.

"If you were going to be so ugly,

why didn't your parents abort you?"

"Can you please just find a gun and kill yourself?"

I read every one because I was determined and desperate

to find one comment that said, you don't know her story,

or, she's just a kid, or anything,

and I didn't find that at all.

NARRATOR: Lizzie Velasquez was born

with neonatal progeroid syndrome, a disorder that

prevents her from gaining weight,

weakens her bones and heart, and cause blindness

in her right eye.

Her parents did their best to make her feel normal.

I remember them sitting me down and saying first of all,

there's nothing wrong with you.

The only difference is that you're

smaller than the other kids.

And you're brave enough and strong enough

to do whatever you put your mind to.

NARRATOR: Public school was a rude awakening,

and Lizzie was bullied because of her appearance.

A lot of it was just name-calling, pork chop legs,

and grandma, and why are you so skinny?

And pointing, and the stares.

Often times, there were no words said to me,

but it hurt as much as someone screaming something hateful

to me with a megaphone.

NARRATOR: Away from school, Lizzie's only refuge

was her family and God.

My faith was something that was

instilled in me from day one.

If I was at church, I was the happiest kid in the world.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

NARRATOR: When Lizzie entered middle school,

the bullying intensified, and so did her frustration.

How come I can only see out of one eye?

How come my clothes don't fit like the other kids?

How come I can't do this and can't do that?

No matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard I prayed,

no matter what I did, I was not going

to look like everybody else.

NARRATOR: Lizzie joined an after-school club

to try to win over her peers.

It was there she realized she needed to change her attitude.

What am I doing?

Nobody did this to me on purpose.

Lizzie, stop whining.

Stop complaining.

God is the reason why I'm here.

If I'm going to continue on this faith journey,

I need to actually walk it.

I have God here with me, and He's not leaving this path.

And if He's not leaving this path, neither am I.

NARRATOR: From that point forward,

things began to change.

I was really happy.

Everything was going well.

I had incredible best friends around me.

NARRATOR: Lizzie's confidence grew,

but she wasn't prepared for what would happen

her junior year of high school.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

I don't think I'll ever be able to adequately describe

what I felt in that moment.

I was really confused, and upset, and angry.

What in the world do I do now?

I worked so hard to get my confidence up to where it was.

Now it doesn't even exist.

I knew deep down I was not going to let

this video or those people become the definition of who

I was meant to be.

NARRATOR: Lizzie immersed herself in church and school.

Later, she was asked to share her story with the freshmen

class.

She was apprehensive.

But the next morning, she stood up in front of 400 students

and spoke.

Halfway through, I looked up and I realized that everyone

was just listening.

It was silent in there.

And in that exact very moment, I had never

felt more comfortable and confident in my own skin.

And I realized we all know what it's like to be bullied.

We all know what it's like to feel

like you're not good enough, or pretty enough,

or strong enough.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

NARRATOR: When Lizzie finished speaking,

she finally felt she understood God's plan for her life.

I looked up and there was like a line of students

who were wanting to come up and hug me, and telling me

how much my story touched them.

I get chills thinking about it, because it was just

like this moment of like, I'm going to be OK.

That was the day that I found my purpose.

NARRATOR: For the next five years,

Lizzie shared her story at churches and conferences

nationwide.

Then in 2013, another video of her went viral.

This time, it was a Ted Talk she gave on self-image that

garnered over 10 million views.

I wasn't doing this to like, be famous.

I was doing this to share a message.

Through the whole speech, every word that came out of my mouth

was a God thing.

It wasn't me.

NARRATOR: Now Lizzie speaks around the world,

hosts her on YouTube channel, and has written several books.

In "Dare to Be Kind," Lizzie shares how

to overcome life's challenges.

I feel like Jesus put me in this little body

to show people that no matter what size you are,

or where you come from, or what you go through,

there is a God who is there who will never leave you.

And that will surpass any obstacle.

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