Former MSU basketball player Anthony Ianni fighting bullying in schools nationwide
TUCKAHOE- The Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Autism Alliance of Michigan today announced the Relentless Tour – a first-of-its-kind anti-bullying initiative − will come to New York during Autism Awareness month, April 28-April 30, 2015.
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, facilitated by Tuckahoe SEPTA, will speak at assemblies held at three schools, grades 3-12, in the Tuckahoe Union Free School District, on April 30, 2015. He also visit the Eastchester schools on April 29, 2015. He will also act as assistant celebrity coach for the South East Consortium Hawks in an exhibition basketball game against Bronxville J.V. at Bronxville High School at 7pm on April 28, 2015. This event is free and open to students, families, and the general public. Younger attendees will have a chance to do a shoot around with Ianni at halftime.
Ianni was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of four 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 1 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 (http://relentlesstour.com/meet-anthony-ianni/).
Through the Relentless Tour, Ianni seeks 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.
Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and Ianni kicked off the Relentless Tour in October of 2013 and announced the tour’s mission of reaching 659 schools statewide with their anti-bullying message.
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.”
For more information on Anthony Ianni and the Relentless Tour, and to submit a request to bring Anthony to your school or event, visit www.relentlesstour.com. For more information about the upcoming visit to New York, contact Tuckahoe SEPTA Co-Chair Tara Zegers at Tuckahoe.Septa@gmail.com.