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When Josh Rossi and his wife Roxana first heard about the bullying Jackson Bezzant was experiencing, they knew they had to do something to make him feel like the superhero he is.

Bezzant has Treacher Collins syndrome, a genetic condition that caused issues with his facial bones and tissue development. The differences in his appearance led to excessive bullying in school, to the point where his classmates were calling him "monster" and "freak." Rossi came across a video of Jackson's dad explaining the challenges his child faced, and Rossi was heartbroken.

“As I was watching, I felt as though he were speaking directly to me,” Rossi wrote. “I immediately messaged him on social media and told him I was doing a new project on bullying and wanted his son to be part of it.”    


So how does one make a bullied kid feel like a superhero? By turning them into one, of course.

All photos courtesy of Josh Rossi.

Inspired by the trailer for "The Avengers," the photographer and digital artist partnered with Vero to create "The Avengers of Bullying," a photo series dedicated to really awesome kids who have experienced bullying. They get to play dress up as incredible bad-guy-fighting Marvel superheroes.

"We knew that if we could provide a platform where each kid could make a powerful statement against abuse, it would help unite others against it," wrote Rossi.

When Josh began the series, he had no idea what the project would look like. But after getting Bezzant on board, other kids joined too. The children who became involved in the project had faced excessive bullying for things like their gender identity, depression, and being a refugee. The project became incredibly popular and even gained the attention of Justin Bieber’s little brother, Jaxon.  

With between one in four and one in three U.S. students saying they have been bullied at school, Rossi wanted to make sure the kids felt seen.

“We knew that if we could provide a platform where each kid could make a powerful statement against abuse, it would help unite others against it.”

These 10 empowering, adorable photos show just how cool these children are.

1. Cole Helton, Vision  

2. Jaxon Bieber, Thor

3. Joshua Walker, Star Lord

4. Benson Bateman, Spiderman

5. Morisi Elkano, the Black Panther

6. Mia Verlade, the Scarlet Witch

7. Jaron Balico, Drax

8. Jackson Sommers, Dr. Strange

9. Jackson Bezzant, Captain America

10. Benjamin Crofts, Falcon

These photos won't solve the problem of bullying, but creating spaces where kids feel seen, heard, and empowered is a huge step toward creating a better, kinder world.

To learn more about the kids' stories, check out Josh Rossi's post here and watch the video below.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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