Friends and family hold vigil following Hampton County girl's death

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Friends and family gathered Sunday evening to remember a girl who took her own life after being the victim of bullying. Toni Rivers was a bright 11-year-old who was always full of life and energetic.

The community gathered at the Wade Hampton football stadium with blue balloons, lanterns and candles burning bright all in the remembrance of Toni. Her pictures with her beautiful smile made others smile as they supported her family.

Her aunt, Maria Petersen, says that her grandma always taught her to greet others with a smile because you never know the battle that someone is dealing with. 
"Sticks and stones do break our bones, but words do hurt and we've got to teach our children that," says Petersen.

Bikers against bullies showed their support. Friends of Toni and other little children all came out to honor Rivers and her family. People of all ages, backgrounds and races came united to stand up against bullying.

Petersen says, "Enough is enough and it's time to make our voices heard and to be a community that's together that protects our children."

Toni's family wanted to stress that words should be uplifting and are not meant to tear people down. They wanted everyone at the vigil to take their message of being kind and spread it among the community. They wanted to make sure children went back to school being kind to one other.

"I don't want another family to have to carry what we are carrying with us now. I don't want another family to have to feel the grief and the anger.  I hope that today when they leave, they leave understanding that their words matter," says Petersen.

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