“We wanted to show her bravery and how inspiring she is,” said a Yale assistant professor at a recent event honouring Bobbi Wilson for her contributions to science.
Bobbi Wilson, 9, was spraying invasive lanternflies in her Caldwell, New Jersey, neighbourhood with a homemade repellent to protect trees last October when a White neighbour called police to report her activity as suspicious.
Last month, the Yale School of Public Health honoured Wilson, a Black woman, for her bravery and dedication to science after her mother spoke out against the alleged racial profiling her daughter experienced when Gordon Lawshe reported her to police, referring to Wilson as “a little Black woman” and telling dispatchers she “scares me,” according to video obtained by CNN.
The girl’s personal lanternfly collection was catalogued, labelled, and officially added to a database at Yale’s Peabody Museum on Jan. 20, where it went on display for public viewing. Wilson is recognised as the museum’s donor scientist for her contribution to the collection.
“Yale doesn’t usually do things like this… Bobbi is one-of-a-kind in this regard “According to the school’s summary of the ceremony, said Ijeoma Opara, an assistant professor at the school and the event’s organiser.
“We wanted to demonstrate her bravery and how inspiring she is, and we just want to make sure she feels honoured and loved by the Yale community.”
Neighbor Calls Police on 9-Year-Old Black Girl Who Was Spraying Spotted Lanternflies
Lawrence Gall, the Peabody Museum’s Entomology Collections Manager, also praised Wilson for her efforts in New Jersey to reduce the impact of lanternflies, which suck nutrients from plants and can harm trees and crops.
“We’re so grateful for all of your hard work down in New Jersey, as well as your interest in conservation and tracking the lanternfly’s progress,” Gall said. “There aren’t many of them in Connecticut right now. They are only now beginning to appear here. But I’m confident we’ll see them, so we’re delighted to have these specimens.”
Wilson’s mother, Monique Joseph, spoke at the event on Jan. 20, praising Yale’s leaders for recognizing her daughter and helping to sooth a painful memory.
“You have been a blessing, Dr. Opara,” Monique said. “You are a testament to what it means to have a community of amazing, beautiful, Black, intelligent scientists and doctors, and more importantly, your heart and passion for the work that you do… You aided us in altering the course of that day.”
“I simply appreciate it. It means everything. “We will not let this go to waste,” she added. “You guys will always hear Bobbi because her father, myself, and my family are going to support her and make sure she lives up to her full potential.”