Written by: Jewell Allen

Before attending The Bridge to Racial Unity, ​my heart was overwhelmed with negativity. In August of 2014, the riots in Ferguson, Missouri reflected an internal tension rising between my African American and Caucasian makeup. Everything I saw, from the different reactions to the protestors to my white family members refusing to see the injustice, convinced me of a separation between black and white, so I, biracial, did not know which culture to classify with. After choosing to only identify with black culture, I resented my mother but desired her pale skin in order to escape my pain. I believed media when it said black people hated white people and hence, I waged a war on my blended identity. As my head screamed, “I hate you, Jewell”, my white and black souls fought with a silver blade across my wrists.

When Misha invited me to Bridge to Racial Unity, I was excited because I enjoy learning about different cultures, but I was nervous to open up to a group of strangers. However, right as our conversation started, I knew I was meant to be there. ​This group of women encouraged me to accept my mixed identity all while ignoring media’s lies. I rose above social labels and realized the gifts that I have as a conscious, biracial girl. By deciding to focus on what I can change rather than what I cannot, I saw my significant responsibility to bring cultural awareness to my peers. The hardest part of Bridge to Racial Unity was accepting their love. I have a hard time truly believing that I am loved, but this group of women constantly affirmed their love to me. The most important thing that I learned is that it is incredibly wrong to terminate my relationships simply because of race. This group taught me that I have commonalities with every person, regardless of their skin color.Jewell_Allen

As people, we always have a variety of emotions swimming through our heads. Through the Bridge to Racial Unity, I forced myself to examine my bitter and wounded feelings. Through these meetings, my heart transformed from one of bitter resentment to one of joyous acceptance. I learned to accept both races of my identity unapologetically. When these women helped me escape my cocoon of hurt, I flew high with dignity and empowerment, understanding all of my unique intricacies.