MURRAY, Utah - Hundreds gathered to walk a Utah boy home from school after bullies yelled racial slurs at him and left him fearing he would be shot, according to KSTU.
Last Thursday, Mateus Romualdo called his mother after he walked home from Viewmont Elementary School. His mother, Heather Romauldo, said he was frantic.
“He was walking home from school last Thursday when a car full of teenagers drove by repeatedly yelling a racial slur at him,” Heather said. “He felt very terrified and actually told me he thought the kids were going to shoot him.”
Heather shared her son’s story on Facebook. It spread quickly and reached Mateus’ youth basketball coach, Troy Harlan.
“I know that, when I read the post that his mom wrote about him being scared, I've gone through all that," Harlan said. “I grew up in Davis County, and I know what it feels like to be one of only two black kids at my school.”
Harlan wished he could have been there last Thursday when the boys allegedly called Mateus the racist name. Instead, he organized a walk so Mateus would not feel afraid walking home from school on Wednesday.
With his basketball connections, his team had the Utah Jazz Bear at the walk and even retired Jazz basketball player Thurl Bailey.
“The message I want to happen is that people need to be held accountable,” Harlan said. “You're not born to hate people. You're taught to hate people. I don't care what color you are. We are all the same. ”
Heather filed a police report and Mateus’ incident is being investigated, she said.
Friends walking with Mateus held up anti-racism signs and showed their unity and pride in their cultural differences.
A Facebook post told those interested in walking with Mateus on Wednesday the details of the event. It also included this information about organizations that teach to fight hate:
"In planning this event, I realize that many who might wish to participate will not be able to do so in the middle of the day, so I would like to invite all who cannot attend (as well as those that can) to consider making a donation to one of the following organizations:
Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Salt Lake Valley:
Southern Poverty Law Center: