Ever since a police officer shot a 19-year-old, unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, the nation has been divided over whether police treat minorities unfairly.
Jeremie Bordua Jr., 11, of Lansing, Mich., is clearly in the corner of the boys in blue — so much so that, for the better part of a year, he has been raising money to turn his birthday party into a celebration of his local police force. Why? “Because the police are more important than any birthday party,” he said.
And, after months of hard work, the big day is here.
“It feels like they get bullied bad like I do,” Bordua told the Lansing State Journal before the birthday-turned-police appreciation event, held Monday in Lansing on Jeremie’s birthday. “I just wanted to do this for them.”
About 250 people attended, including about 60 officers, and not every eye was dry.
“I cry a lot, just because I’m proud,” Marcella Telling, Jeremie’s mother told WLIX last year. “You know, he’s dealt with a lot of bullying and stuff so a lot of negative and he’s making a positive out of it. So, it’s very touching that he’s turning out to be a great young man.”
“After all the news coverage and everything, we start to feel like we’re getting kind of beat down,” Los Angeles Police Officer Gary Hall, who flew to Lansing to attend, told the Journal. “For a 10-year-old to be this selfless to give up his birthday party to thank the police, we both said, ‘You know what, we’re going to jump on a plane and fly out there.’”
Jeremie is no stranger to celebrating police. Though he’s a bit shy, he wants to be an officer when he grows up, and he has even attempted to buy them drinks in the past.
“I was at Biggby” — for East Coasters, that’s a Midwestern coffee chain — “when my mom was getting a coffee,” Jeremie said last year. “There was like a sheriff behind us. I asked my mom if I could pay for his coffee, she said yes so I got my money out and gave it to my mom so I could pay for his coffee.”
Such small gestures, however, were not enough. Jeremie and his mother baked “cookies for a cause” for up to eight hours per day, and eventually raised $10,000 through cookie sales and GoFundMe. Most of this money will go to the Lansing Police Athletic League.
“Ten year old Jeremie is an aspiring police officer,” Jeremie’s crowdfunding page read. “Lately the mean things people are saying have really brought him down, so he decided he wanted to show his thanks and appreciate to our local police department. He decided that he didn’t want a birthday party this year, instead he wanted all the funds that would normally go to his birthday, to go to throwing the Lansing Police Department a thank you party, to let them know he appreciates them, and still believes in them.”
At the event, Jeremie was made an honorary Lansing police officer, and the accolades poured in.
“I’m a Chicago Police Officer and I think what you’re doing is wonderful,” one comment on the crowdfunding page read. “You’re a great kid!!”