SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (localmemphis.com) - A Southaven, Mississippi, business is honoring a young suicide victim by rallying against bullying. Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson will host an anti-bullying rally to remember Andy Leach, the 12-year-old Southaven Middle School student who killed himself after his mom says he was bullied at school.
“Andy's Army” is growing with “Supporters Against Bullying.”
“Knowing that he felt like that was his only option absolutely broke my heart,” said Aubrey DePew with Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson.
DePew never got a chance to meet Andy Leach, but she says she feels connected to him.
“Just knowing all the back story about why he was bullied for thinking he was bisexual and just being in that age of curiosity and not knowing that really hit home for me. I was bullied for the exact same thing growing up,” said DePew.
Andy committed suicide in March. His mom, Cheryl Hudson, says Andy was bullied at school. Hudson and a few friends formed “Andy's Army, Supporters Against Bullying” to keep Andy's memory alive and to raise awareness about bullying.
“I don't think this is how he wanted to make his name but it's definitely how he's making it,” said Hudson.
Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson will hold a rally, not only to raise awareness, but raise funds.
Andy's Army will use money raised to talk to lawmakers about stricter punishment for bullies and more training for teachers in schools.
“I don't think it sinks in to people unless they're close to somebody who lost their life from it,” said Hudson.
“Everybody deserves to be loved and accepted for who they are,” said DePew.
Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson will host a rally, with a live auction and band, poker run, and food trucks June 23rd from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 4870 Venture Drive in Southaven.