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.
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.