V127: The Thought Leaders Issue With Bethann Hardison

The model and diversity advocate on growing up with the police, concerning oneself with the Senate, and de-stressing.

V127’s Thought Leaders Issue is available for pre-order now.

“For me, it’s important to vote because growing up knowing that there was so much in my background, being a person of color like generations of people being raised in this country. And the sacrifices they made, that because of slavery they could not even be allowed to learn to read. You’d have to go from the lowest man on the totem pole of what you couldn’t do and how oppressed people were. So when these progressive things happened, slowly but surely, things started being allowed, and I owe it to those who fought. I owe it to those from that moment, to Dr. King, being able to go and fight for the rights for people to vote. It’s a civic duty and surely a racial concern. You think of your own race and you have to do it.

“I concern myself strongly with the Senate and the House of Representatives. I don’t know if we will be able to—but where I’m voting—my vote would be leaning more toward trying to change this administration. So that’s not only voting consciously for the President of the United States, but also looking at the other offices that are very important.

“I would love it if we could help the police to understand how to be better officers, although I know it’s a delicate balance; I’ve always believed in the police and law enforcement. I grew up in Brooklyn, and I used to gang fight as a kid. So it was one precinct that we always had to go to—the 77th precinct in Brooklyn. The cops were Irish and they were all great, they all were kind to us. When you have a situation, you want that arm, you definitely do. But you don’t want the arm that’s just as radical and out of control. I just have to say it needs a lot of help.

“Defunding the police is one thing, I understand that, because you want us to shift the balance of the budget. But getting rid of the police? No, I don’t believe in getting rid of the police, I believe in improving. I don’t know if that could happen, but it would be a beautiful thing, wouldn’t it?

“I de-stress with tequila, a hammock, and stretching. Now, during this COVID time, you can’t get into a lot of things you used to do. But it’s really through relaxation and forethought you have to be conscious of everything and take deep breaths.”


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