Monica Scherzer

I am in a big transition phase in my life; I am generally content, but I know I have a purpose in making change, and I am still trying to discover exactly what that impact will be. I can note the exact moment of when my life transformed in front of me. I have two incredible sons, and my husband and I have worked hard to give them every opportunity and the best life possible. As a mixed couple, we initially decided to not bring up race issues, past traumas, and the sometimes cruel way the world works because we didn't think it would ever be a problem with them: we assumed they were grateful, happy, and We Are Bethlehem is a storytelling project focused on expanding our appreciation of the diverse people who live here. Monica Scherzer content in their own skin. That all came crashing down one night. My oldest told me candidly that he had decided to not divulge his African American heritage to his classmates in his new school because, “it’s just easier this way.” He didn’t want to tell his friends he had a Black mother because he felt it would make him a target and put him at a disadvantage. His words hit my soul like a ton of bricks, and was the wakeup call I needed: I will not allow my child to believe that being an African American makes him be viewed as a lesser human being. Living in Bethlehem where there is a lot of wealth, access to many resources, reputable schools, etc., it’s easy to believe that racism doesn’t exist, and that we all feel safe and at ease in our own skin. Bethlehem is a great place to live for a host of reasons, but we also have work to do to ensure everyone feels safe, secure, and equally valued in our town.