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Speak - Marina V

Marina is a recording artist, singer and songwriter in Los Angeles. She is originally from Moscow, Russia and experienced bullying at school as a child. Her song “Speak” inspires listeners to believe in themselves and be proud of who they are. Marina is passionate about sharing this important message.

Discussion Questions

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Marina’s story

My name is Marina V. I am a recording artist, singer and songwriter in Los Angeles. I grew up in Moscow, Russia, and came to America when I was 15. Since, I have toured the world and have been very lucky to do music for a living.

But before that, when I was a kid, I was bullied at school. I was in 4th grade and very shy. For several weeks a group of older boys stood by the school entrance and almost every morning they called me (and some other kids) disgusting names, and even spit sunflower seeds at us. It felt so horrible, I was afraid to even lift my head. I was embarrassed of my own weakness to stand up to them, I was embarrassed that I let their words and actions make me feel miserable. I wanted to skip school and never go back.

It took a long while (with help from my mom, who is a psychologist) to realize that their behavior had little to do with me. Those boys were bad students who came from difficult situations and they themselves didn't have high self-esteem. They took out their anger and frustration on other kids.

But most people don't have psychologist moms at home, and need help from somewhere else. That's one of the reasons I strongly feel what PACER is doing is incredibly important. It helps to know you're not the only one going through something like this, and it's nice to know you can get support and figure out ways to stop bullying, and most importantly, ways to stop bullying affecting you.

My song SPEAK is about believing in yourself and not being afraid to be yourself. It's about standing up for who you are, no matter what people may say or think. If you believe in yourself and are proud of who you are, bullying will not have the power to affect or hurt you. It took me a long time to realize that.

When I released SPEAK a few months ago, or when I perform this song live, many people have told me they are inspired by the song's message. In turn, I was inspired to contact PACER and offer the use of my song to this great organization. So here I am :)

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