OREM, Utah — Dozens gathered together at Utah Valley University Thursday night to remember Izzy Tichenor.
Her family claims racial discrimination and mental health harassment drove the North Salt Lake ten-year-old to take her own life back in the fall.
“We need to let all of Utah know what happens when a young child like Izzy is bullied and made to feel ashamed of the skin they’re in,” said community activist Darlene McDonald.
The spirit and story of Izzy has touched and also angered so many.
“I immediately mourned for her and I felt like I could see a little bit of myself in her,” said vigil co-organizer Priscilla Villasenor-Navarro, who is also a community organizing and activism fellowship student at UVU.
Thursday’s vigil was not just to honor her life but to also keep the message going that change is necessary.
“We are here not only to raise awareness for racism and bullying but also the mental health that is being impacted by the actions that are not being addressed,” said Breanna Lambert, another vigil organizer and fellowship student with the university’s Center for Social Impact.
Since Izzy’s death, the Davis School District launched an independent review team to investigate the claims of discrimination and bullying. The district also hired new employees and created a partnership with several community leaders earlier this month to tackle the issue of racism.
“We will not give you another one of our children to racism to hatred to bigotry. Not one more,” said McDonald.