Bobbi Wilson, a Black girl of nine years old was honoured by Yale University for her work in combating the invasive spotted lanternfly. According to the announcement, Bobbi’s collection of spotted lanternflies has been professionally mounted and is currently on display at the Peabody Museum.
According to a news release from the Yale School of Public Health, on January 20th, they held a ceremony honouring Bobbi for her work in eradicating the invasive species.
At the event, Bobbi was honoured for giving the spotted lanternfly collection she had been caring for to the Peabody Museum at Yale. Yale School of Public Health Assistant Professor Ijeoma Opara who organised the event was quoted as saying
Yale doesn’t normally do anything like this… this is something unique to Bobbi. To ensure she feels continued honour and love from the Yale community, we wanted to highlight her bravery and inspiration.
The month of October found Bobbi in Caldwell, New Jersey spraying a homemade repellent for spotted lanternflies. Insects that have spread from other countries have been labelled a national emergency by state agricultural departments because of the damage they can do to native plant species.
A neighbour called the police to report a little Black woman walking and spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees on Elizabeth and Florence interrupting Bobbi’s mission to help eradicate the invasive species. Bobbi’s mom, Monique Joseph previously told CNN how the whole thing left her daughter perplexed and upset.
Experts say that young Black girls are treated more harshly by police than their white counterparts and this incident brought attention to this disparity. Bobbi came to Yale again for the ceremony making it her second time there. Soon after the incident with the police, Opara invited her to tour the university.
If you want to know about the Louis Tomlinson’s Tour, you can read about it in the link we given below:
What Happened During the Ceremony?
During the ceremony, Joseph thanked Opara (who runs a mentorship programme for Black adolescent girls) for welcoming and supporting both her Bobbi and her 13-year-old daughter Hayden.
You have been a blessing. More important than your brain and looks is your heart and your dedication to your field of study or profession; you are a living example of what it means to be a part of a community of brilliant, beautiful, Black scientists and medical professionals. You aided in altering the course of that day.
Joseph now uses the incident as a platform from which to protest racism locally and nationally. At the ceremony, Bobby reportedly said, “I am aware that this happened for us, not to us”. Someone up there wanted us to be a part of changing racism in our town which is why Bobbi is here and we aren’t grieving.
We can take a stand and make a difference and be heard because of Bobbi. I’m not just advocating on Bobbi’s behalf. It’s not just my daughters that I advocate for. Joseph went on, I advocate for young people. I advocate for everyone who is the other who faces racism and bias because of the choices they made on a form.
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