By Ja Kaufmann, MO

Carlos Vigil is a name unknown to the majority of the incoming crowd at CONA, but a name forever burned in the memory of those returning delegates who knew him.

Carlos Vigil was a 2013 delegate from the New Mexico delegation, a bright student who loved CONA and the chance it gave him to make a difference. Carlos attended last year’s conference with a proposal designed to educate schools on the harmful effects of bullying and instate a mandatory class in all public high schools to help prevent future bullying. Carlos’s passion for his proposal came from personal experience. His story was one of constant struggle and torment. Carlos told his story as part of his proposal and wanted to caution others on the horrors of

Sadly, shortly after Carlos left the conference, he took his own life. This shocking act inspired many CONA delegates to rally together in support of his goal: To stop the bullying. Delegates created the hashtag #HopeForCarlos, and paired it with #StopTheBullying to share his message with everyone they could. Despite his personal struggles, Carlos always dedicated himself to aiding and assisting others. He was extremely active in his community and school. Along with the many other outreach programs he was responsible for, he served as:

 Secretary of Homeland Security of New Mexico YIG;
 An officer at Warehouse 508, a youth art and entertainment center in Albuquerque, and;
 A member of the board for his local recreation center.

“He was one of the friendliest and most respectful people I have ever met. He was always willing to help others, and made everyone feel like they belonged. He cared about everyone,” said Hallie Brown of New Mexico.

“Last year, I went into committee, and I was completely nervous,” remembers Alexandria Moore, another New Mexico delegate. “He told me everything would be OK and even offered to make a pro speech for me. He was always looking out for others.”

Because of Alexandria’s efforts following Carlos’s death, Oct. 19 is now Bully-Free Day in the state of New Mexico in honor of Carlos and his mission. Carlos inspired many young teens to better those around him and continue the mission of bully prevention, even after his death. His story showed many around the country, through social media, national news and word of mouth just how terrible bullying can be.