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Black Lives Matter: Interview with Nicole Forrest
Sheila Sharpe | 15th Street

Nicole Forrest. Photo courtesy Nicole Forrest.

The handsome BLACK LIVES MATTER signs you see enhancing the front yards of many Del Mar homes were designed by Nicole Forrest and her children, Justine, (9) William (11), and Katherine (13). This dynamic Del Mar family created these signs to “raise awareness” and foster “open conversations” in a grass roots effort to keep the Black Lives Matter movement alive and central. Too often a shocking event like the murder of George Floyd galvanizes the public in the short term, only to soon lose momentum before structural changes occur.

Nicole’s signs had an immediate impact on the community. Local teens volunteered to distribute them and expanded by designing stickers, which they are distributing. Adults responded with donations to activist groups. Discussion groups have started at all age levels. For us to make substantial progress toward eliminating discrimination and ensuring justice, education must be strengthened, open conversations started within families and between peoples of different backgrounds. Nicole is dedicated to fostering these necessary conversations.
Growing up in Washington, D.C. Nicole was exposed to both poverty and affluence, and from early on became aware of the implicit rules regarding race, norms, and the correlation between standard of living, opportunity and race. Successfully navigating advancement meant unspoken and narrow codes of acceptability and cue reading, including everything from manner of speech to style of hair. Her experience also instilled the importance of education and resources. She earned degrees from both Princeton University and Harvard University. She is the founder of White Forrest, a real estate, research and development company dedicating to creating beautiful, safe spaces on the East and West Coasts. Her holistic approach melds function, artistic, and social considerations. Since moving here five years ago, Nicole has taught at the University of San Diego and served on the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Nicole is inspired by an emerging generation of leaders unafraid of our differences and empowered to demand progress. The Black Lives Matter Movement represents the importance of interracial dialogue and an illumination of our historical and persistent structural inequalities. It cries of the dangers of being born black in America but also sings of the potential for peace. Despite various backgrounds and diverse points of view, many in Del Mar have joined with the spirit of our signs to make a statement that those who have power and resources should stand behind those who do not.

All members of the close Forrest family are highly accomplished in academics, athletics, and the arts. Nicole and her husband Kevin met at Princeton where he earned a PhD in Molecular Biology. Their three highly verbal, artistic children play competitive sports are avid readers and study music (particularly William who is an accomplished cellist). Of prime importance among all their activities is—as you might have guessed—open conversations about almost everything.

 

 
 

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