Another Black History Month has come and gone. This year though I noticed something that to me epitomizes the spirit of the need for the month. It came in the form of a newscast.
Eleven year old Jeremie Bordua, Jr. lives in Lansing Michigan and instead of a birthday party for himself, asked his folks to throw a Thank You party for the local police force. They said yes and Jeremie threw a bash that had law enforcement coming from across the country to attend and according to a story in the Washington Post, left few dry eyes once things kicked off.
“It feels like they get bullied bad like I do”, Jeremie told the Lansing State Journal before his event. “I just wanted to do this for them”. I listened to the newscast as Jeremie’s mom related how the aspiring police officer was troubled by all the bad press cops were getting over the killing of young unarmed black men.
So much so that he came and asked her if they were still the good guys; to which she replied that yes they were but that there were some bad elements. As I watched her, I knew in no uncertain terms that Black History Month was still necessary in America.
In the wake of a loving parent’s simplistic answer, someone or something has to relate to a young mind so eager to know the truth, that answer to the question that lays more bare the truth at the heart of the matter. And while I can’t in good conscious bemoan a mother’s reply that comforts her child, in the scheme of things, so much was left unsaid and an opportunity wasted.
That he wants to be a policeman when he grows up makes it almost a necessity that the boy be told the unmitigated, unbiased truth about the checkered past that blacks and law enforcement share. And as an African-American, I would’ve liked to have witnessed Jeremie’s mom relate some of the facts about that past, maybe drop a name or two for reference sake. But she didn’t and life goes on.
No matter because there will undoubtedly be other young “Jeremies” out there eager to know the truth about a vocation they seek to join. Hopefully, Black History Month will still be around to lend them insight into how not to do the job that they look forward to doing.
Photo from Washington Post originally on East Lansing Police Department Facebook page. The caption reads:
This photo was taken at Jeremie Bordua’s “Thank You Party” for police this past weekend. Ten-year-old Jeremie decided, in lieu of having his own birthday party, that he wanted to show his appreciation for local police by hosting a big “Thank You Party.” With the help of his mother, Jeremie raised community funds for the party by baking and selling cookies.
ELPD was happy to be a part of the festivities this weekend and the officers would like to thank Jeremie for all of his appreciation and support.