“AHA!’s purpose is to increase awareness, accountability and responsibility towards eradicating hazing, by empowering our youth through education.”
The mission of the AHA! Movement is to end the senseless and tragic cycle of deaths from hazing by reaching out, empowering and educating our young people.
Pleasant Hill, Calif. (January 29, 2015) – The AHA! Movement has been established to bring awareness to the dangers of hazing, and to prevent injury and death by changing the culture of those organizations who participate in the humiliating, degrading, torturous and potentially deadly acts of hazing.
“The AHA! Movement is created in the memory of my son, Matthew Carrington, who was killed in a water hazing while pledging a fraternity in Chico, CA in 2005,” says Debbie Smith. “The heinous acts that Matt was forced to endure on the night of February 1, 2005 continued until his brain and heart swelled with water, and his liver and kidneys failed due to water intoxication. He was left to die in the early morning hours of February 2, 2005, in the cold, wet, sewage-infested fraternity basement.
The AHA! Movement will focus on outreach, education, and prevention of hazing related injuries and deaths through the development of educational awareness programs geared towards high school and college aged kids. It is documented that hazing (not to be confused with bullying) begins as early as elementary school.
With the recent outbursts of torturous high school hazings that have taken place in the last 6 months, the AHA! Movement is eager to get their programs out of development and into high schools and colleges nationwide.
Smith has experience taking successful action on the issue that took her son at the age of 21: she was able to get “Matt’s Law” passed on September 29, 2006. This California State Law makes it a felony to actively participate in hazing when someone is seriously injured or killed, and a misdemeanor when someone witnesses hazing activity, yet does nothing to stop it.
“Our goal, quite simply, is to end the senseless deaths of our young people by educating them on the dangers of hazing,” says Smith. “We are looking forward to having people everywhere jump on board the ‘AHA! Movement’ train to help us end these barbaric rituals. It takes a village to effect change on this level.”
For more information about Matt Carrington’s story, please visit We Miss You Matt.