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Unfair Treatment

Life Story Club Contributor

July 29, 2020

Okay. So a little background about me is I’m from Detroit, Michigan. I did not grow up in a segregated community at all. I mean, everybody was everybody and everybody lived on the same block. I mean, it was unheard of to hear the things that I have seen since 2018. So again, I come from, all of my friends, I was on the step team, cheer team, you know, everything in between. I have friends of all colors and nationalities, and it was very, very socially acceptable to date interracially and everything was everything, right?

So I joined the army, became a military police officer, and started realizing what segregation was. So it was a little bit, it wasn’t too bad. We still were all brothers and sisters in arms. And when I stepped out of there, I became a funeral director. And I was applying over the phone to several funeral homes, and they said, “Well, ma’am what color are you over the phone?” I said, “What color am I? Well, sometimes I’m white. Sometimes I’m pink. It just kind of depends on what the day has to offer.”

And they started laughing because I’ve never been asked what color was I? And they said, “Well, we’re a black establishment,” or, “We only cater to white people, and you’re too short to be white.” I said, “I’m too short to be white? My application says I’m white.” And they said, “No, you fit a more Hispanic profile because you’re five foot and under.”

And I said, “What does that have to do with being racially profiled on my application? And I’ve already worked for this establishment for five years.” And because I have a more Hispanic association with the families that I serve, they said that they were a white funeral home and that my services would be better somewhere else after I’ve already worked with them for five years.

So it was very interesting to me to see what that segregation meant, right? And so my trinket that I wanted to show was you see all these awards, I don’t know if you can see, I have a very nice little stack of awards being in my profession. Thank you. I was the youngest funeral director to become president for the state of Texas.

I had surpassed every degree element I could get at a very fast pace because I love the funeral and the death care space. What broke me was when they kept telling me I wasn’t racially accepted, mind blown. How do I overcome racial acceptance as a white female that I’ve always identified as?

So in 2018, I left big Corporate America and sold everything. I sold my land, houses, the boat, everything, and here, we’re building our own funeral home in Bereavement Center. So we took that, and I said, “You know, nobody should ever be told that you are not racially okay to grieve. You are not racially okay to do your job.” That is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard of.

So I took that and I created the strengths. And now we have a multicultural community where, yes, I do Hispanic service as well, yes I do white service as well. But then when I realized that your community has to train your funeral director on what your customs are, I brought that out in our community and said, “You have to train your social customs to your funeral director to get that experience that you want, Just because you can do that only one race, or one group, or one religion doesn’t mean that’s the only thing that you can do.”

So, everybody who has worked with me, I throw them in every situation, whether it’s a Jewish funeral, whether it’s a African American, or Hispanic, or Pentecostal, we get all of that. And that’s the way that the industry should be. It should no longer be, “This is a black establishment, this is a white establishment,” because that is by far the craziest thing I’ve seen.

And so that was where the accomplishment is coming from is we are overcoming that barrier in the Central Texas area now. And hopefully, it’s going to be contagious within the profession, and we will be a more united culture.

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