Ali Dorfman is a former network TV producer. She now owns Purpose 2 Purchase, a social media platform and online shopping site that curates unique American-made products, and finds businesses that give back.
As the mother of 2 young girls, the Westporter has struggled to make sense of what’s happening in our country today. She wrote them a letter, which “06880” is proud to share.
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 Kings Highway, 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 Kobe Bryant’s plane crashed. Even though he was a celebrity, it hit close to home for so many people like us. 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. Nine 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. Our small suburban town town gained national attention when it was discovered that someone at a party had COVID. Most of the people there 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, and 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. 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 preschool 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.
George Floyd’s murder should never have happened! Certainly not at the knee of some police officer white or black. As all should be outraged by this we need to inform ourselves of who George Floyd was. He died high on meth and fentanyl. He was a convicted violent felon throughout his life. Once committing a home envision where he held a loaded gun to a pregnant woman’s stomach demanding money and drugs. Point is George Floyd should not be held up as a martyr and certainly not as any kind of role model to any of us, especially the young and impressionable. George Floyd had not turned his life around. I can only hope his senseless death will bring justice reform quickly. Will we ever see economic and social parity?
We need a government that would strive for this Not divide us.
Way to ruin a nice post. You could have started and ended your comment with “George Floyd’s murder should never have happened!” and it would have been a powerful statement. Instead, you chose to go down the “smear the victim” route. Which is never a good route to take.
What’s a “home envision?”
When a human being is summarily executed in cold blood in broad daylight on our streets by those who swore to serve and protect, their personal histories, good bad or indifferent are entirely irrelevant. No one, perhaps other than Fox News, or you, has had the indecency to attempt to smear and slander the victim when the earth over his gave was tapped down less than 24 hours ago. Shame on you.
Awesome Ali, you rock
I appreciate these words and will borrow them. Thanks for sharing, Dan. I too have a 5th grader and 3rd grader and have struggled to describe this deep cloud that hangs over us. COVID has been surreal but we’ve counted our blessings. My older one and I are working our way through Glee, and I also appreciate the shows made-for-TV diversity. These last few days have really shaken us awake. The brutal and senseless murder of yet another black person in the hands of the police should be deeply disturbing and angering.
Hey John it would appear you don’t accept other opinions. Isn’t that a form of bias that I for one try to avoid.
Yes, there are lots of people with opinions I don’t agree with. What about you? I didn’t agree with your post. I think it was inflammatory. And I made my opinion known. Do I accept that others have the right to voice their opinions? That goes without saying.
Your shame on you comment doesn’t even warrant a response. Wonder what your reaction would be if you had someone invaded your home with a gun and threaten you and your family. Don’t call the police because their all bad right? Too bad your sensibilities are offended.
Evidently, my comment DID warrant a response. I wonder what your response would be if a cop had slaughtered a family member of yours or invaded your home and shot your sleeping wife in her own home eight times? All police aren’t bad, just the ones who commit these crimes and their fellow cops who look the other way or refuse to say anything. But I guess whatever cops do is okay with you and your sensibilities, such as they are.
Ali, that was beautifully expressed. Cherish this time with your girls. But, I am sure the young women they grow to be, will continue to be as ever enduring as well.
I am fortunate to have that with both my girls, as well.
I have slept on this so as to write a calm response. First of all to Ali. Your letter to your young daughters is so fine and I am sure it will help guide them throughout their lives. When I was a young child soaking up information about the world and the adults around me my mother talked to me about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, I guess she saw the way things were in the world and was trying to instill in me a healthy respect for myself so I would not go down that road. At the same time she was a big fan of Ray Charles. Round about my 12th birthday I learned of Ray Charles’ arrest for heroin and thought I knew it all so I said to her “If drugs are so bad how come you are such a big fan of Ray Charles?” She thought for a moment and said to me “Life is just not that simple Ellen”. It was a huge eye opener for me and began the broadening of my understanding of life. I think, Ari, that your letter will add to your girls understanding of the world and like me, they might refer to it as they grow up. To Pete, I say, Mr. Floyd made some seriously bad choices 13 years ago and was jailed and paid for his crime. By all accounts he moved away from the scene of those crimes and began to try to rebuild his life. He was, even so, a flawed human being who, if you believe the official autopsy, had drugs in his system even two weeks ago. He, supposedly tried to pass off a counterfeit bill. That charge of course now will never be proven. I know that I have paid for things with twenty dollar bills during times when the stores are on guard and they run some sort of pen across the bill. I once asked what would happen if it came up that the bill was counterfeit. They laughed and said it would be confiscated and I would be asked by the police where I received it. No mention of my being marched outside, humiliated, handcuffed, and killed. Of course with the knowledge that this is Westport and that I am white, those things never occurred to me but if some force had been used you can be sure the Italian in me would have caused a huge scene and lots of resistance. Still, probably I would not have been murdered. I dare say that at different points in my life I was a flawed human being. In my younger days was involved in some pretty stupid behaviors. I am still a flawed human being and always trying to do better. I suspect that if given the chance to keep on living Mr. George Floyd would have found his way. These protests are not about his past or present, they are about this country’s past and present and future.
That much we can agree on. It should be about the future, and I hope it gets better. I do have to say this however: why wouldn’t you believe the official autopsy. Which all eyes watching I would have to believe their findings. Last question on this subject. Can a person turn their life around while on meth? Think we should all know the answer. Everyone’ life Matters.