Anthony Gonzales knows what it's like to be bullied, but when it happened, he did the right thing -- he spoke up.
While others should intervene in cases of bullying ,victims should also take a stand, he said.
"They need to speak up for themselves," the 19-year-old Merced College student said. "You have a voice -- let it be heard."
Gonzales was among a small group of students at Merced College who took part in "Spirit Day" on Friday.
The event, which is recognized worldwide, is held to raise awareness of and support people who have been bullied because of their sexuality, said Merced College student Jayy Lee, president of Students Advocating for Equality Club on campus. The group organized Friday's event at the school.
In recognition of the day, those who participate typically wear the color purple.
People have committed suicide as a result of such bullying, Lee said, and others should put a stop to it. "There's no reason for people to get to that point, when it can be prevented," Lee said.
Merced College student Jonathan Garcia said it's important to have events such as Friday's because bullying is prevalent everywhere. "We can help limit the number of cases that happen," he said. "We need to raise awareness of how it affects people."
Garcia said he was bullied in the past, but had the support from his family, which helped him. "Not everybody is as fortunate as I am," he said.
Merced College student Sebastien Nguyen stopped by the table the club members had set up in the college's quad area. He said he can't believe incidents of bullying are still happening today.
"It's 2012, it's time to give up on the discrimination and hating each other," he said. "It's time to love each other."
Lee said the club's mission is to promote equality overall, and it meets from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Vocational Building, Room 8. Everyone is welcome to attend.
"People need to look for support, and this support is here," Gonzales said of those who are being bullied.
Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.