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Arts / Culture

Anti-Bullying Activist on 20-City Tour of the Nation

Bev Horne

Seventeen-year-old Cali Linstrom is on a mission to rid schools of the epidemic of bullying, an issue that's been at the top of the news recently with the suicide of a Polk County girl, a victim of cyber bullying. The high school senior from Illinois is currently on a 20-city tour, speaking to high schools all across the nation.

Linstrom had a history of being bullied in school, but what sent her over the edge was the glib statement made by Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries, remarking that only beautiful people shop in A&F stores and unattractive people should steer clear. Linstrom started a protest against A&F after she heard these remarks, and demanded Jeffries apologize. What followed was a sit-down with top executives of the company and a resolution to market more inclusively. She felt it was necessary to fight against not just this moment of insensitivity but all forms of exclusion.

Darryl Roberts produces her symposiums across the nation and he says that they show kids are greatly affected by this issue.

"It's amazing," he said. "Doing the part of the symposium where the kids get up and tell stories about how they've been bullied is really something to be a part of."

Roberts mentioned that kids would be open enough to talk about some grisly stories of aggressive bullying and the aftereffects of it.

"There was this moment where they all bonded," he said. "Everybody's crying and, I'm like, wow, this symposium is really affecting these kids. It's pretty awesome."

Linstrom will be in Orlando on Tuesday to speak at Cypress Creek High School. She will be in Tampa in December to speak at Tampa Preparatory School.

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