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Bergen County Woman Hopes To Combat Bullying Through 'Hat Not Hate' Campaign

CARLSTADT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and a Bergen County woman is trying to stop bullying with her "Hat Not Hate" campaign.

Shira Blumenthal started "Hat Not Hate" after getting bullied as a child.

"When I was younger, in fourth grade actually, I was bullied relentlessly throughout my whole year, and it was super painful," she said.

It was so bad, she had to change schools.

hat not hate #hatnothate
Shira Blumenthal has received nearly 60,000 blue hats for her #HatNotHate anti-bullying campaign. (Credit: CBS2)

Two years ago, she started the anti-bullying campaign by asking people to make and send her blue hats. Blue is the color of Bullying Prevention, and she comes from a family that started a yarn business years ago.

The hats are given to local school children, and Blumenthal also leads anti-bullying assemblies. On Friday, more than 500 middle school students took part virtually in a #HatNotHate assembly.

Knitters and crocheters from around the world have sent Blumenthal nearly 60,000 hats along with heartfelt notes.

"Hello, my name is Lucy. I'm 13 years old from Iowa. I made 20 blue hats for #HatNotHate," one girl wrote.

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Even if you can't knit, you can still get involved.

"Maybe you have a blue hat that you love and you can put it on during the month of October and use that hashtag #HatNotHate and post it on social media," Blumenthal said.

CBS2's Cindy Hsu got a chance to talk to some kids who are involved in the campaign.

Thirteen-year-old Jules Morolda wanted to share a message with anyone getting bullied.

"We're all together in this. You're not, like, stranded alone. There's always someone in your corner that can help you," she said.

Brayden Sumilang is just 10 years old.

"Some people don't have a voice, unlike me who has a voice, and I'm not afraid to stick up for kids that don't," he said.

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He talked about helping a classmate who has autism.

"They were making fun of him just because he was different and that was so wrong, so I told them to stop and leave him alone," he said.

"How did you feel afterwards?" Hsu asked.

"I felt like I just saved the day or something. I felt amazing," Brayden said.

And that's what #HatNotHate is all about.

To learn more about the campaign, click here.

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