The Power of Communities: Helping Michael Morones

I don’t usually start posts like this, but this one is important, for several reasons. If you’re a follower of my blog, I ask that you read this in its entirety, despite what it may appear to be about at the beginning.

As many of you know, in the last year, I have become an avid My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan. I’m more into it than my 3-year-old daughter Caitlyn. That’s no secret. And I’ve spoken at length about embracing passions that make you happy, even when they fly in the face of what’s considered “socially acceptable.”

That’s not what this post is about.

It’s about a boy. An eleven-year-old boy named Michael Morones.

975512_1390906648.6268

I want you all to read this story.

Michael Morones, an 11 year old boy in North Carolina, recently attempted to take his own life due to bullying received on account of being a fan of the show ‘My Little Pony’. Fortunately, the attempt was caught and halted in time to save his life, but he sustained severe brain damage. The family has reached out and is asking if the community from the show he loves can help out with the medical expenses.

Here’s What his Family have to say: Michael is a huge lover of all music. He started to learn Violin because of Lindsey Stirling and harmonica because of my career as a musician years ago. The more people that can share this the better. We want this beyond viral for two reasons, one to share the anti bullying message and two to share michaels amazing faith in God and I know if Michael was awake right now he would want to give nothing but forgiveness and love to the bully’s who teased him so they would know what it’s like to be accepted without harsh words or violence.

A bit more detail: On Thursday he attempted to take his life by hanging himself. He has suffered brain damage due to the lack of oxygen and the family is not sure what his state will be should he recover.

As you can probably guess, I can understand this child’s plight. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I was bullied, teased, ridiculed, mocked or any one of a dozen other words during my childhood. I was so incompatible with dealing with social situations during elementary school that I spent a vast majority of my lunches and recesses in the school library. I had very little in the way of friends growing up and frankly, I still find it difficult to develop true friendships.

During high school, a friend of mine named Amir killed himself. I don’t want to tell you how…but it was far more brutal than this poor child. I attended the same classes as him. I’d hung out with him. I honestly don’t know why he did it. But I remember feeling so damn helpless at the time, wishing I could have done something to help him.

As an aside, there are only two full books of my poetry in existence. One of them is in the possession of my grandmother. The other is in the possession of Amir’s mother.

There are horrors all around this world. Terrible things happen every day. Things that normal people don’t even comprehend. Some are great. Some are small. But they all hurt. I don’t believe the bullies involved in Michael’s incident wanted him dead. They have their own problems, their own insecurities. And likely the guilt of what they did will haunt them for the rest of their lives. I don’t hate them. I’m angry at them, but I refuse to hate them.

Why?

Because it’s against the message of the show that Michael loved.

Some of you ask why I am such a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. There is the wonderful characters, the brilliant (and often hysterical) music, the surprisingly good story lines, the animation and more.

By why am I open about being a Brony?

Because of the community.

As of today, the fundraiser for Michael has raised over $18,000. 

Stop and think about that.

The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan community has donated over $18,000 dollars to a boy they don’t know, they have never met and they will likely never meet.

There is no other fan community I am aware of that can claim such an amazing feat, especially not one based around anything like My Little Pony. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic celebrates the character traits of generosity, kindness, honesty, loyalty and laughter. They teach tolerance. They teach love, even those who are different. They teach believing in yourself. They teach friendship and the power of good relationships.

These are important messages. And there are very few shows on television right now that celebrate these things.

So this show has spawned a completely unexpected fan base way outside their demographic who actually decide to put these character traits into action.

Let me give you a few more examples:

Bronies for Good: “Bronies for Good is committed to fostering the growth of a global community of caring, socially conscious individuals through the organization of service events worldwide and encouraging individual, group and social involvement.” —Our mission statement

They have raised $30,000 for the Children’s Cancer Association. They raised $100,000 in 2012 alone for various causes. They support and organize  blood donations. They began Your Siblings, a charitable nonprofit organization with the aim to provide effective and sustainable humanitarian aid. This program carefully select their aid projects, applying strict criteria, and then support them with  donations, which they forward in full.

The Your Siblings Project has also accomplished the following: (Seeds of Kindness was a charity music album by prominent members of the Brony music community.)

  1. Seeds of Kindness 1 and 2 funded the Safe Project orphanage of Another Hope in Uganda, who just moved into their new building.
  2. Seeds of Kindness 1 funded a medical clinic in Uganda that has already made a difference hundreds of people’s lives.
  3. Seeds of Kindness 1 also funded the Green Village in Burundi, which has been able to accept more street children in, and has been able to reunite others with their families.

The Brony Thank You Fund, Incorporated is a New Hampshire registered non-profit corporation, organized to raise funds for donation to charitable organizations and to encourage such donations. This group is officially recognized by the United States Government as a 501(c) nonprofit organization.

These are some of the groups they have donated to:

12/24/13: $50,000.00
The California Institute of the Arts

11/18/13: $1517.00
Habitat for Humanity Intl

6/16/13: $2,515.71
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

5/15/13: $2,000.00
The College View School

3/27/13: 1,598.52
Engineers Without Borders, USA

3/27/13: 1,598.52
GLSEN

3/15/13: $8,477.87
The College View School

9/17/12: $11,960.00
Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
(Donated Advertising)

7/19/12: $6,000.00
Marine Toys for Tots Foundation

6/5/12: $1,000.00
Marine Toys for Tots Foundation

I want you to take a moment and think about this. Realize the implications of something as amazing as charities driven by “those strange guys who watch a show for little girls.”

There is something here. Something powerful. Something magical. Something that defies explanation.

It’s too easy to ignore Bronies as strange deviants who dress up in fursuits and flood forum channels with disturbing Pony imagery. For every one of the crazies, there are a dozen good people who had found a common bond through the community.

There are Bronies out there performing miracles of generosity, kindness and love every day. They are rarely recognized. They are rarely seen. Many of the donations on Michael’s website are anonymous. I’m reminded of Mark 9:41: “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”

Now I don’t pretend that all of these people are Christian. That doesn’t matter. What matters is the amazing power of generosity that this community had revealed.

So, in closing, I’d like to stop. I’m not asking for you to watch the show. I’m not asking you to like the show. I’m not asking you to buy the merchandise.

I’m asking you to think.

I’m asking you to stop.

I’m asking you not to mock anyone who professes enjoyment of six colorful cartoon ponies.

Because for all you know, that person may have just gave his gas money to a poor boy on life support, or Habitat for Humanity or helped orphans in Uganda.

As for me?

I was My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic because I like the show.

But I announce myself to be a Brony because of the community.

If you’re interested in donating to Michael’s recovery fund, please go to this website and donate anything. It doesn’t matter if it’s $5 or $500. Look through the donations. Every little penny counts.

Thank you everyone.

Goodnight.

-rks

2 thoughts on “The Power of Communities: Helping Michael Morones

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful post. Michael is a wonderful, sweet, intelligent and compassionate little boy. My son is his step-brother. My son happens to be autistic, and Michael…oh, the way he would protect him, and love him, and treat him just the same way he treated his own flesh-and-blood brothers…he’s just an amazing inspirational kid all around. Thank you for sharing your story on bullying. What was once regarded as a “rite of passage” as we transitioned from childhood to adolesence, has now become a full-fledged war with the internet being used as the prime weapon. The Brony Community has rallied around Michael, protecting him just as fiercely as Michael protects his own brothers. The Michael Morones Recovery Fund has reached nearly $27,000. That’s $9000 raised in just 2 days since you blogged on January 30. To put it simply: Bronies…you guys are what friendship and magic are all about. On behalf of the Morones and Suttle Families, thank you. God Bless all of you.

  2. Pingback: Proud to be a Brony | -rks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s