Dubuque Women Fight Bullying Through Photo Campaign

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - A group of women in Dubuque recently launched the "Piece of Me" campaign. It's a series of photos of people who've pledged to fight bullying.

With every click, every candid smile, someone is speaking out without saying any words.

Organizer Ashley Melchert said, "It's more than just signing a pledge and saying you're not going to bully. It's actually taking a visual stand and empowering people to not bully. "

A photographer captures an image of each person holding a blindfold displaying one word.

But beyond all that, Melchert, once a bullying victim herself, says this is an effort to really embrace who you are.

"It took me a long time to own the fact that I am a bigger girl. I'm probably not ever going to be a size 2 and I don't want to be because I'm happy being the way I am. "

Owning who you are, is exactly why Anna Ahmed and her family signed up for the photo session.

Ahmed said, "I want my children to embrace labels instead of shying away from them. It's ok to be called black. It's okay to be called Pakastainy. It's okay to be called "blackastany". Which I love. "

Project organizers believe that's the trick to curbing this nation-wide problem.

Melchert said, "The people who did bully me, now they get to see me owning it. They get to realize they really didn't do much damage on me. So it gets better."

Better, now that she's taking on bullying on photo at a time.

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