Daily Camera (Boulder)
Author shares her Sudanese refugee story
Half of sale proceeds benefit education in South Sudan
Visitors to the Longmont Museum on Saturday got a frontrow seat to a story of perseverance and self-acceptance told by former Sudanese refugee, author and teacher Nyibol Bior.
Bior, who lives in New Mexico, taught special education at Longmont High School from 2016 to 2018 and is the author of the recently published children’s book, “My Beautiful Colors.” Her free talk at the museum, 400 Quail Road, was one of a handful of local events put on for Black History Month by NAACP Boulder County and the Executive Committee of African American Cultural Events.
“Black History Month is very important to me,” Bior said, “because I feel if it wasn’t for those people who came before me to fight for all our rights, then I wouldn’t be here today as a former refugee from South Sudan.”
Justin Veach, event and auditorium manager for the museum, said the museum has worked with NAACP Boulder County in the past to celebrate Black History Month and Juneteenth, but said they can “always do more.” Bior’s talk was part of a celebration this weekend that includes a performance by the Nashville African American Wind Symphony today.
“Our basic principle is the oneness of mankind,” said Kathryn O’leary, one of the event coordinators. “We wanted to do something for Black History Month … and it just came together.”
Accompanied by a slideshow presentation with pictures and videos, Bior guided the roughly two dozen attendees through her childhood in Sudan and her family’s struggle to find asylum amid the devastating civil war. Coming to the U.S. as a young teenager, Bior said she experienced colorism from other Black students and was often the target of bullying.
“Loneliness persisted, because
I didn’t have any friends,” she said. “I couldn’t speak any English, so I didn’t really have anyone to communicate with.”
Through outlets like basketball and reading, however, Bior overcame that sense of loneliness and realized her own worth.
“Something in me refused to accept that I was less than anybody else,” she said.
“Being able to stand up for myself was huge.”
After taking some questions from the audience, Bior met many guests oneon-one to sign and sell copies of her book. Benita Hensley, a Longmont resident, said she loved Bior’s talk.
“The way that she can still be resilient and not hateful … that’s awesome,” Hensley said.
The only known suspect in her murder is now deceased, so the teen’ case remains unsolved and officially open. In 2010, 56 years after Dorothy’s death, more than 30 members of the young woman’s family, including her surviving sister, came to Boulder and held a memorial service. The family had also created a new stone, with Dorothy’s name on it at last.
Bior followed her talk at the museum with an appearance at the Lafayette
The family had Dorothy’s and Jane Doe’s stones combined and placed on her grave. This joint memorial can be found by entering Columbia Cemetery through a gate from Pleasant Street — midway down the block west of the intersection of Pleasant and Ninth streets. To get to the stones, walk straight ahead toward an irrigation ditch, and they will be on the right. Although the actress who portrayed Jane Doe issued