Dear Emme and Kylie -
I am writing this letter because sometimes it is easier to express my thoughts on paper than in person. It is June of 2020. Emme, you are finishing 5th grade at KHS and heading to middle school next year. Kylie, you are finishing 3rd grade.
So far this year has been anything but normal. It started when basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s plane crashed. Even though he was a celebrity, it hit close to home for so many people like ourselves. It was during basketball season and you both were playing rec and travel basketball. Just like Kobe was going to coach and watch his daughter, daddy comes to watch his daughters. 9 innocent people perished on that flight. It was a terrible tragedy that captured our hearts for several weeks. It almost seemed surreal.
Then COVID-19 came along. We live in Westport, CT and our small suburban town outside of NYC gained national attention when It was discovered that someone at a party had COVID. Most of the people at the party got infected and we became a hotbed for the virus. The one good thing that came out of it was we were so scared that we all hunkered down right away. Schools closed, no one saw each other, and it was just family time. Many people actually saw the good in slowing down.
We watched tons of movies, did lots of home projects, daddy discovered his love for puzzles! We also started watching GLEE. One of the things that attracts us to the show is all of the diverse characters. We love that it represents people of color, people with disabilities, people who are deemed “popular,” jocks, people who are gay, etc. It truly captures every kind of person.
Just as we were preparing to move forward and regain some normalcy in our life outside of the home, a terrible thing happened. An innocent Black man George Floyd was killed by White police officers in Minnesota. It is absolutely deplorable that in 2020 this could still happen in America. You both are young but not too young to know about the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While his idealism lives in so many of us, in practicality we are still a divided nation. We are split over politics, race, religion and more. It Is okay to have a difference in opinions, but it is not okay to be a bigot.
I am fortunate that you don’t fully understand the gravity of what is happening in America. I worked at CBS News for 15 years and covered everything from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina to the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. All were major tragedies in American history where thousands of innocent lives were lost. Instead of showing up at these stories as a journalist, I now watch the news on TV and it truly disturbs me. I am afraid to let my own children watch the news which was such a huge part of my life. Many people are using social media to show their support for George Floyd. But we don’t need to just post on social media. We need to take action. As a family we need to find ways to do more. And if every family in America pledges to do a little something to improve the divide in our country, then one day we can come together as one.
When you both started pre-school everyone told me “the days are the long, the years are short.” I know life can be unpredictable. But no one’s life should ever be cut short because of the color of their skin. Never.
Ali Dorfman is a former network TV producer. She now owns a business called Purpose 2 Purchase where she curates unique American-made products and finds businesses that GIVE BACK.