BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A local woman is looking to unite the community Wednesday while also showing support for our local law enforcement and first responders.
23ABC News spoke to Lisa Marie, who started the, "Back The Badge" fundraising project on Facebook to gain further details about movement that’s gaining traction.
Lisa Marie is a Bakersfield resident and a daughter of a former Kern County Sheriff's deputy, "When he would go on a shift I was a little kid and I would worry is my dad going to come home, is my dad safe,” Lisa said.
Lisa said as a young girl she didn’t know if her father was going to return from his shift as a Sheriff’s deputy, so she simply wanted to show appreciation to those who are also wearing the badge that her father wore during a time when police are facing backlash, following the death of George Floyd in Miniappolis.
Lisa said she knows that many mothers in the Kern County community are also still worried that their kids may not come home. She believes and hopes this similarity between the two groups can ultimately lead to a better understanding of each other regardless of color.
“I want to make sure that everyone in our community knows that moms are scared to lose their children. I know we're scared to lose our parents that put their lives on the line everyday. So lets just all come together and try to understand that as humans…not like your one color and your not, you can’t understand my fight and I can’t understand yours. No we’re all in it together, we all want to come home safely,” Lisa said.
Lisa Marie said she started the, "Back The Badge" Facebook group so that she could help show officers that she understands their battles too, while not discounting anyone else's fight for change. She said she has received threats because of the group but that just in the last 13 days the group has gained almost 5,000 supporters and raised more than $10,000 in support.
“Today we are stuffing bags giving back to the badge, we’re giving back to California Highway Patrol today, we did a little over 440 bags just last week for Bakersfield Police Department. We just wanted to say thank you for all their scarifies and hard work,” Lisa said.
Bakersfield Police Officer, Nicole Anderberg also explained what it’s been like wearing the badge for the last few weeks, “It’s been emotionally challenging definitely, a lot of long nights, a lot of long days, a lot of trying times and a lot of hard work to keep pushing through and persevering.”
Anderberg said the most challenging part about the national unrest has been, "Questioning whether or not we truly have support from the community and questioning if our roles are wanted.”
However, she said that gestures to back the badge with acts of kindness and support are still going a long way, "Just to say thank you and that they appreciate us and that they are grateful for us, it really has been a motivating factor in these challenging days."
The "Back The Badge" group also donated to the K-9 units Wednesday and they said Butte County has also now created a "Back The Badge"group to help create a similar positive support system in their own community.