A Statement from Bonnie Jennifer

Illustration by Sacrée Frangine

My father asked me "Why are you so emotionally invested in this?" Because I love humans more than my jewelry and I’m so sick to my stomach that we have to live in a time where POC still aren’t treated equally. I mean, it’s the year 2020 and we should be making some progress right!? While I was never ignorant to black history, I didn’t realize the magnitude of how awful this all is. Truth be told, I am a white privileged woman and I lived in a bubble. Black lives do matter and I am forced to confront and examine this no matter how uncomfortable I may feel.

As I saw & heard the jarring sounds of helicopters, sirens & chaos unfold in Brooklyn, I reached out to some of the black women in my life, one of which is a friend, the other a valued employee. I was mortified when they told me that they live in fear every day, but this wasn’t the first time I heard this. In fact, my life coach personally shared this with me years ago. His message was loud and clear. I did feel bad at the time but I didn’t know what to do with his thoughts. It just felt heavy and I couldn’t relate to what he said. I mean how can I possibly understand!? It stuck with me for a few hours and unconsciously brushed it off.

But that is the thing about privilege. I have the ability to forget and move on past these issues, but there are so many who simply can't. I looked at him as a strong, stoic, intelligent man that was able to handle anything. I was surely wrong! As someone with a background in social work, I should've known better. I feel like I had let him and other POC down.

So when my father posed that question, I had to sit back and reflect on some of the lessons he, himself taught me. My father taught me, through example, to never judge others and to do the right thing. So here I am trying to do better & listen with purpose.

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