Lowriders Against Bullying combines car culture with a good cause

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 5:57 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - Alvaro Lara wants to give kids a reason to stop and think before they bully others, but he went about it in an unexpected way.

He founded Lowriders Against Bullying, a combination of car culture and a good cause, which he said hits close to home.

Lara said he didn’t know his granddaughter was being bullied until she was pushed to a breaking point. Though she got through it, it impacted Lara and inspired him to educate others about bullying in a creative way.

According to Lara, a low rider is a piece of art. It’s a representation of yourself.

While you might not associate that with anti-bullying, as an owner of an automotive shop and a car club organizer, it just made sense to combine the two.

“So I just decided, why don’t we just make a car show, start bringing people together and maybe these people can see what we’re doing and maybe we’ll have a change,” he said.

That’s how he founded Lowriders Against Bullying. After witnessing the damaging effects of bullying on his own granddaughter, he wanted to find a way to educate caregivers and support the cause.

“We need to help the future of tomorrow. That’s very important because we have a lot of lost kids out there. A lot and we need to come together and start changing this,” Lara said.

As school starts again, kids may experience in-person and cyber bullying, which in some cases can cause lifelong effects, said Jessi Morgan, program manager of mental health at Communities in Schools of the Permian Basin.

“It can lead to lower self esteem. it can lead to them being isolated,” Morgan said. “Just kind of the feelings of worthlessness, feelings of hopelessness, which can eventually lead to anxiety and depression if those persist without treatment.”

The annual free event is set for this Saturday at noon on Texas Avenue in Downtown Odessa. It’s an all-day event full of food, car shows with awards, a concert, and of course, anti-bullying speakers and games. Kids will also take an oath against bullying.

it’s not an event just for lowriders, said Elizabeth Prieto, executive director of Downtown Odessa.

“It’s a good time to come out, see local people [and] see a little bit of diversity,” Prieto said. “See what they’re all about. It’s a good message. It’s free which is the best part about it and it’s going to have a little bit of everything.”

The car entrance fee is either $35 or a backpack full of school supplies, which will go to kids in need.

If you or someone you know is being bullied, reach out to a trusted adult or contact your school’s anonymous tip line.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by dialing 988. You can also text “Hello” to the crisis line at 741741.