James Lozano still bears a faint, crescent-shaped scar around his right eye from the day he stood up to the bullies.
It was a year ago, in the commons at Greeley West High School, when he saw his black friend getting racially harassed by a group of students.
“I just couldn’t stand it, so I just came over and told them to stop,” James said.
A Greeley West security staffer intervened just after the group — led by a student and his younger brother — turned their taunting on James and gave him a shove.
James, 18, started to walk away, thinking it was over. Then — wham — everything went black.
The leader of the group had peeled off and came in behind James. He landed a sucker punch — a fist, encrusted with a chunky ring — near James’ right eye. As James was being pulled out of the fray, the other vocal taunter, the younger brother, kicked him.
James needed 50 stitches around his eye.
For years, he had absorbed the occasional racial-toned digs directed at him — “It was in kind of subtle ways. … They didn’t know that that kind of stuff offended or made me feel put down” — but it crossed the line when the target was a friend.