December 5, 2017
Lansing - The Michigan Department of Civil Rights today announced the Relentless Tour – a first-of-its-kind anti-bullying initiative − will visit Commerce Township on Thursday, December 7.
Motivational speaker Anthony Ianni, a member of Michigan State University’s 2010 and 2012 Big Ten Champion and Tournament Championship teams and the 2010 Final Four team, will speak to students at James R. Geisler Middle School, 46720 W. Pontiac Trail, at 2:00 pm.
Ianni was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 4 and was the victim of bullying as a child. He graduated from Michigan State University and became the first known individual with autism to play Division I college basketball. Under legendary MSU coach Tom Izzo, Ianni played with the 2010 and 2012 Big Ten Champion and Tournament Championship teams, and the 2010 Final Four team. He has won a number of awards including MSU’s Tim Bograkos Walk-On Award, the 2012 MSU Unsung Player Award, and was named a 2013 Detroit Pistons Community Game Changer Finalist.
Through the Relentless Tour, Ianni, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Autism Alliance of Michigan seek to raise awareness of autism and the problem of bullying. Students with autism are frequently targeted by bullies, with an estimated 65-90% of individuals with autism having been victims of bullying at some point in their lives.
Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley joined Ianni at the State Capitol on October 17, 2013 to kick off the Relentless Tour and announce the tour’s mission of reaching 659 schools statewide with their anti-bullying message.
“Jobs and kids are the top two priorities for Gov. Snyder and his administration,” said Lt. Governor Calley. “The governor and I strongly believe that every student in Michigan schools is entitled to a safe educational environment. We supported comprehensive legislation that requires each Michigan school to have an anti-bullying policy and the Governor signed that bill into law in 2011. The law makes it clear that bullying is wrong in all its forms and won’t be tolerated in Michigan schools. No child should feel intimidated or afraid to come to school.”
In addition to Lt. Governor Calley and MSU Basketball Coach Tom Izzo, the Relentless Tour has generated the support of Detroit Red Wing Niklas Kronwall and former Detroit Lion Nate Burleson, all of whom are working to spread the anti-bullying message.
“Bullying is something we must put an end to, not only in Michigan but across the country,” said Ianni. “Everyone is affected by bullying in some way and students with autism are at incredibly high risk to be victimized. Our hope is that through my story and spreading our message we can not only inspire kids to take a stand against bullying but also make bullies rethink their actions.”
To learn more, or to request a speaking engagement with Ianni, visit http://relentlesstour.com/.