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By Beatrice M. Caraballo

Image by Gus Conde

I was born August 11, 1969 in the city of Camden, New Jersey during the years of tension due to race related riots in 1969 and 1971. A young unidentified Black girl and a Puerto Rican male were both brutally murdered by white police officers during a routine traffic stop.

I was born to elder parents, ages 78 and 41, who migrated from the island of Puerto Rico to the mainland in 1945 looking for work and a better quality of life. They knew absolutely no English. My father was abandoned at the age of 2 and never went to school, but was forced to work from the early age of 9. My mother went only up to the 4th grade and then was forced to work by my grandmother.

I lived a sheltered life, raised with a strict regime and very well-disciplined. At the age of 14 I was told by my mother to go to work after school because she had gotten me a job at our family doctor’s office. I had to continue attending school and getting good grades regardless my schedule or how tired I felt. I had to walk to school, walk to work and return home before dinner every day. My parents did not drive. I love my humble beginnings they taught me a simple life and love – true love.

At the age of 14 I met the father of my 2 oldest children who was 28. I became pregnant at the age of 16 and became a widow with 2 young children at the age of 19. My partner was killed in a drive-by shooting in North Camden in 1989. I decided I was not going to allow his killer to just walk free so I dedicated my days to helping search for him. I worked very closely with the police department and the media until he was caught and convicted for life. Two years later I met my husband and had 2 more children. Unfortunately I endured physical, mental and emotional abuse. I raised 4 children as a married woman, single mother. I am sure some women will understand that statement. I struggled and did what I had to do to raise them and provide for them while enduring my personal hardship secretly.

I obtained a GED from Camden High School and attended 2 years at Camden County College, but fear did not allow me to finish. I got in my way! You have to get out of your way and take that step toward success!

Looking back now at the age of 50 - I have accomplished so many obstacles in my personal and business life. I conquered molestation at the age of 5, rape at the age of 19, severe depression, overcame suicide, survived cancer and continue to thrive in lieu of my chronic health conditions caused by the physical abuse. In 2016, I bought my own home and new car. I registered my Broadcasting and Public Relations business, BMC Network Communications, LLC and I am a plus-size freelance model. I am slowly gaining my power back and now about to embark in my new single and separated journey in life with a new found determination.

Everything I have and own I have earned with my hard work. Regardless the envy and hate from others I am UNAPOLOGETIC FOR MY SUCCESS! Don’t be afraid and don’t allow great opportunities to pass you by.

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