I’ve Never Met a Stranger

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By Emily Steslicki

Editor Katie Williams

Yolanda Moore is a 39-year-old woman who has experienced drastic socioeconomic changes throughout her journey of moving to better her and her family’s life from LaGrange, Georgia, to Farmington, Michigan.

Moore was her mother’s firstborn at the age of 16. She was a mother figure to all her younger siblings since her mother was always working and her father was in and out of jail.

“It was my responsibility to make dinner and have my brothers’ clothes out for the next morning but that didn’t seem ‘not normal’ to me. It seemed that everyone had a family like that,” said Moore.

Moore was raised in a small country town in LaGrange, Georgia.

“You come on vacation and leave on probation,” Moore said. “This was the city’s motto because there were so many gangs and violence. If you had black skin, you pretty much feared white people.”

Moore was directly affected when she was out walking in the street and happened to walk by a couple of women arguing and a police officer intervened.

“I feel like the cop saw me and decided by my skin color I must have been involved because I was charged with street violence and set on probation,” said Moore.

She was just a simple bystander but since she was black, and the cop was white, she was charged.

“I was charged even though I wasn’t guilty. I never saw my parole officer and I never paid, because I did nothing wrong, but they put a warrant out for my arrest and locked me up for five months while I was pregnant with my child Demetrian,” said Moore. “They did not believe I was pregnant and made me take multiple tests to prove it.”

Moore had her child at the age of 22 with her wife Tamika Moore in LaGrange shortly after she was released. She remembers her life growing up there and wanted more for her child.

“For a young black man, it’s hard if you are not born in the right family which terrifies me a lot,” said Moore. “My son was living with my aunt so he could go to a better school to have a better lifestyle than me.”

She opted for her child to live with her aunt since it would put him in a better district than she was in although she would still be living in her mom’s house.

“Most people would tell me I just didn’t want to live with my kid, but my aunt’s house was three minutes away,” said Moore. “One street can make a big difference on how a black kid was raised. It’s crazy.”

Above all, she wanted to get out and give her child a better life and she was granted that opportunity when her wife got a corporate job.

“I pretty much left my entire family behind and a sense of belonging, but I left Georgia 2007 and moved a lot but eventually ended up in Farmington, Michigan, as she moved up in her corporate job.”

Moore relayed on how drastically different lifestyle it was when moving into the suburbs and accompanying her wife to a work-related dinner party at a mansion.

“You can just tell the differences between people who were born with money and the people who weren’t. I was always very anxious when talking to people to make sure I looked okay and was speaking properly because I did not want to be judged. We were some of the only black people there and the only same-sex couple,” said Moore. 

Finally, Moore reflected on her overall learning from her moving experience.

“I think my life is fulfilling now because I’ve met people and created strong bonds. I am allowed to live a life where I am involved with my son’s activities, and I’ve also learned a lot of things with Tamika being in corporate. Prior to my move, my circle was very small, so I never had to entertain people. Now I learned how to talk to people and make friends that I did not know before. I am a very open type of person. I like to have fun, laugh, make people comfortable, and to sum it up I have never met a stranger,” said Moore.

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