Thursday, April 24 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:47:30 GMT
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Dozens of people gathered at Birmingham Elementary School Wednesday night to honor a 12-year-old girl who died of diabetes complications.
Family and friends of Jamera White used her memorial gathering to remember her for the kind young girl she was.
Jamera's family members spoke on Jamera's behalf at the memorial. Their speeches were followed by the crowd releasing balloons.
"This is a reality to
us now," said Dawn Stribling-Reditt, Jamera's aunt. "This is not something we are watching on TV in another state, in
another city. This is happening to us,
and it hurts, it hurts bad."
Last week, Jamera's father returned home to find her in a coma. She passed away days later. Family members fear she was bullied online before she died.
Wednesday's vigil was attended by many, including Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant, who afterwards spoke of open communication.
"We want to continue to get the dialogue out," he said. "We need to communicate much more to make sure that we address that every child feels comfortable.
TPS has no record of any bullying reports from Jamera, but Dr. Durant urged parents to be involved in their child's social media activities.
"The internet is
cruel, and mean!" Stribling-Reditt said. "She cannot come back. We can only keep her in
our hearts, and move forward, and try to do something about this."
The heartbroken family is now stepping up and trying to help beat back bullying in the community.
"It's a worldwide
thing. This is not just a Toledo thing," said Jamal Grant, Jamera's uncle. "We want to save a child. You know, if we can
reach out and save one more child from this, and a family from this, we did our