Bronica Baker-Deale is bringing her daughter’s dream into full fruition through today’s youth.
In 2006, Baker-Deale’s 22-year-old daughter, Brittany, was brutally murdered before she could pursue her dream of becoming Georgia’s first African American horse jockey. Deale sat down with rolling out to talk about Brittany’s Dream, a foundation created to introduce minority youth to equestrian sports.
How did Brittany become fond of horse riding?
At the age of 5, she got on a pony ride in one of those grassy knolls on Ponce de Leon. She fell in love with the horse and wouldn’t get off of it. We moved to an area where a horse ranch was not very far away. She ended up becoming such a good rider that they started allowing her to lead trail rides. She was out there every Saturday.
What happened the night she was murdered?
On December 9, 2006, I talked to her a couple times that evening. It was a Friday. She had forgotten the pin number to her debit card and she called me to ask for it. We talked several times that evening. The last thing we said to each other was that we loved each other. At 2 a.m., Dekalb Homicide called to tell me she had been murdered. I tried to convince them that they had the wrong person; someone must have stolen her purse and I was slowly short-circuiting. And then they asked me the magic question: if she had the name ‘Brooke,’ which is my youngest daughter, tattooed on her thigh. So, [it was] a mother’s worst nightmare; I knew at that point that that was my daughter.
What were your initial steps in coping with your loss?
About two months after I buried her, I had a stroke and then brain surgery. I was talking to a therapist and she said, ‘You need to quit [focusing] on the violence and the fact that your daughter is no longer here. Try to recreate a relationship with her so that it will bring you some peace.’
Tell us about Brittany’s Dream and how you came up with the concept to start the foundation.
Myself and Alton Reid, [a horse rider] who was going to take my daughter to jockey school in Florida before she passed, decided it would be a great way to honor Brittany.
For more information about Brittany’s Dream, contact Alton Reid (404) 343 8131.