Meet Kerrits Team Rider Kaylawna Smith
Meet Team Rider Kaylawna Smith
My name is Kaylawna Smith-Cook. I’m an upper-level event rider in Temecula, CA. I run K. Smith Equestrian, teaching and riding alongside Tamra Smith at Next Level Eventing. Being the daughter of a professional gave me the privilege to be in the eventing community my entire life. I don’t usually speak out to share my feelings on social media, but I’m happy to share my story with you all.
"I believe we need to change how the black community is viewed & treated."
There’s a lot of protesting and many angry people fighting for justice so we can live in a world of equality and peace. I agree and believe we need to change how the black community is viewed and treated.
Growing up eventing, I always felt welcome. I was raised well. My parents did an amazing job providing what I needed. I’ve never felt judged. Maybe this makes me lucky or biased, but I don’t think so. I believe there are two types of people: those who look for negativity and those who choose positivity, those who seek sympathy and those who grow stronger from hardship.
Any racial encounter I’ve experienced has made me stronger, and those encounters were outside the horse world. I’m grateful for the lovely people I’m surrounded by.
I believe one problem is that people lack knowledge of black culture & history. They might know “MLK fought racism” or “interracial marriage used to be frowned upon,” but how many expand their education on our race beyond that?
On striving for equality
On Facebook, I saw a picture of a white man and a black man. One wore a shirt that said “My N––” and the other’s shirt said “My Redneck” with arrows pointing to each other. It may have the intention of being “not racist,” but why use these negative words? People throw around this word like it’s a joke or like it can be used lightheartedly. But this mindset is wrong. We’re striving for equality. Can’t we have that without bringing each other down first? I am equally saddened that the intent of making change is often overshadowed by those who hijack protests with selfish and shameful conduct.
Now is the time to develop a better future so our children and loved ones may live in a world free of racism and discrimination, where they truly can be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.