Hundreds of people volunteered to walk an 11-year-old Utah boy home from school earlier this month after he said bullies shouted racial slurs at him from a car, according to KSTU-TV.
Heather Romauldo told KSTU that her son, Mateus, called her after he walked home from school recently and he was very upset.
“He was walking home from school [Oct. 5] when a car full of teenagers drove by repeatedly yelling a racial slur at him,” Romauldo said. “He felt very terrified and actually told me he thought the kids were going to shoot him.”
Romauldo said she filed a police report and the incident is being investigated.
She also wrote on Facebook about what allegedly happened to Mateus, and her post caught the attention of Mateus’ basketball coach, Troy Harlan.
‘We are all the same’
Harlan told KSTU, “I know that when I read the post that his mom wrote about him being scared, I’ve gone through all that.”
“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 said.
Harlan told the station that he wished he would have been there when Mateus was walking home, so he decided to organize a walk so the boy wouldn’t be alone when he walked home from school.
Hundreds of people volunteered for the walk. Harlan’s basketball connections helped, too — the Utah Jazz Bear came to the walk, as did retired Jazz basketball 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.”
(H/T: The Root)