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12-year-old Rocklin boy wants to be known for his character, 'not the color of my skin'

"I wanted to be known for the content of my character, not the color of my skin," said Daniel.

Daniel Pocklington, 12, can still remember the first time he was called a racial slur. He didn't not know what the word meant, but he said he remembers the person who said it.

Daniel, who was adopted at a young age, was only 3 years old.

His mother, Adrien said the prejudice they faced as a family living in Idaho is why they moved to California, hoping to raise Daniel in a more diverse community — Rocklin.

"I wanted to be known for the content of my character, not the color of my skin," Daniel said.

That was part of his message to the Rocklin Unified School Board last Wednesday after several racially charged bullying incidents at school.

Daniel said he's been punched, kicked, thrown to the ground, and called racial slurs.

"Hurt people, hurt people," Daniel said. "If someone has a sad life, they feel like they have the right to take it out on other people."

It is a lesson Daniel said he learned from his mother, in addition to "sad hearts make sad choices."

It's that empathetic and mature mindset that is getting his message national attention, including from his hero, former President Barack Obama.

Adrien believes a family member sent Obama's office the video of Daniel speaking at the meeting. Even though the message might just be from an office member, Adrien said it meant a lot to Daniel.

"He represented [that] this is what black people can do. Don't judge us by our skin," Daniel explained. "We can do better than you think."

Later this week, Daniel and two friends who stuck up for him will be honored by the Rocklin Police Department with a pizza party and a visit to the department.

Adrien said the two friends physically stopped other students from hurting Daniel and ended up with bruises themselves.

Adrien hopes Daniel's message will spread throughout their school district and even beyond, and that more schools will take up a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bullying.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Frances Wang.

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