Buffalo woman’s social movement making impacts worldwide

Local News

What started as a lesson plan, has turned into a campaign that’s spread to dozens of countries around the world.

Rocks of Unity is a social movement that aims to end hate by spreading kindness and a young Buffalo native is making an impact in the hopes of carrying on a legacy.

21-year-old Alexa Zappia operates out of her car.

She uses rocks to spread her message of kindness, written clear on the back of her shirt.

“Every rock is different… if you look at limestone for example, there are so many rocks with so many different properties especially under the category of limestone and we’re taking the rocks and putting them together and uniting them and we’re doing the same with humans,” said Zappia.

Alexa goes into different communities to speak on the concept of diversity and difference.

She hands out rocks for people to decorate to represent themselves.

“Hate might be loud… but kindness will always be louder. Because there’s kindness and we’re reaching so many people and they’re all uniting behind that,” said Zappia.

It started as a lesson plan for her teaching degree in college and now a year later, Rocks of Unity has spread to 36 countries and 25 states.

Celebrities like David Boreanaz, Kristin Chenoweth and Paula Abdul are big supporters.

“I was just fans of them when I was young and now they’re supporting what I do is just a really surreal feeling I think it shows that kindness acceptance they’re human values and whether you have status or you don’t, it doesn’t matter we’re all humans, we all have those values,” said Zappia.

In a world with such division, she’s reaching thousands, urging people to celebrate their differences.

“It’s impressive on so many fronts. It’s impressive because she started out here as a religious school student. So, for that alone, the embodiment of all this love and kindness that’s what every congregation’s religious school wants their students to achieve,” said Hope Bongiorno, with Congregation Shir Shalom.

Alexa was inspired by a woman named Susan Wehle.

Whele was Alexa’s cantor while she was preparing for her Bat Mitzvah.

Whele was supposed to be on vacation at the time of the celebration but changed her flight in order to make the ceremony.

The plane she was on, flight 3407, crashed in Clarence.

Alexa felt lost at age 12.

But now, nearly 10 years later, she’s far from lost.

Her hard work is on display throughout Buffalo and around the world.

“I figured you can take that tragedy and either sit and sulk and either be depressed and upset all the time or you can do something positive out of it,” said Alexa.

That something positive is a social movement, wise beyond Alexa’s years, that shows no signs of slowing down.

You can request Alexa bring her Rocks of Unity presentation to your organization or event.

And if you have a story about inspiring people doing good in your community, let us know.

Send an email to positivelybuffalo@wivb.com

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