As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, Coca-Cola values and celebrates diversity. That’s why, today, we are supporting The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in their efforts to promote Spirit Day – a day where millions of people “go purple” to show their support for LGBT youth. Spirit Day began in 2010 as a way to show support for LGBT youth and encourages people to take a stand against bullying. Today, we’re turning the Coca-Cola Journey front page purple as a show of support for LGBT youth. We also have some personal reflections from two of employees who have overcome bullying in their lives. Here's Tenisia Ransom's story:

My name is Tenisia, but my friends call me Ty. I’m from California by way of Savannah, Ga. My bullying experience started as an adolescent. A boy in my class and his older sister would pick on me every day I got off of the bus. I would be left in tears after every encounter. Fortunately, I found the courage to tell my mother. My mother is one of those individuals who believed in sticking up for yourself. She told me that if I didn’t stand up for myself now, I would always fall later. When I took her advice, I realized the bullies were more afraid of me than I was of them.

In junior high school, I had a really good friend who was a young model. Two girls in our class used to bully her every day. I asked her why she didn’t defend herself. She told me she didn’t want to get in a fight because it could endanger her career as a model. The money she made as a model helped pay the expenses at her home. She also told me she was afraid for her life. Thinking about what my mother said to me years before, I just couldn’t allow my friend to get bullied any longer.

From that point on, I decided I would stand in-between the two bullies and my friend. Anytime they thought about doing anything to her, I tried to be there to prevent her from getting hurt. It finally came to a head when both of the girls took my friend’s property for no reason and destroyed it in front of me and my friend. That made me so angry. I decided to stand up to those bullies that day and help defend my friend from being attacked. After this situation, the bullies never messed with my friend again. The look of “thank you” I read across my friend’s face that day gave me a feeling I’ll never forget.   

Now that I’m an adult, I think back to that time and try to always be there for those who cannot defend themselves. Through this experience as a kid, I learned how to stand up and overcome adversity. However, we can’t rely on our fists to defend people. We have to use our minds and our hearts. Otherwise, we’re just as bad as the bullies.

Visit GLAAD’s Spirit Day website to learn more.