Jai Bornstein Remembered

Family, friends and local activists remember Bornstein's legacy together

Bakersfield, Calif. - Jai Bornstein was a young, transgender teen who friends and family say fought to raise awareness and acceptance of others who felt like outsiders. 

Bornstein's mother, Jeanie Bornstein, said, "Knowing that the community still remembers Jai, and thinks of Jai and wants to honor Jai's life this way, it's really uplifting."

A vigil was held in downtown Bakersfield bringing together those who knew Bornstein and those who have grown to love her and what she stood for over the last year. 

Local trans-activist, Rory Meza and fiance Shani Smith credit Bornstein for their engagement. They say, after a speech Bornstein gave at CSUB in 2016, they felt empowered and encouraged to be confident in their relationship. 

Shani Smith made a point to say, "You are important to other people. Just look at Rory and I. You are important to other people, you are making a difference in someone else's life no matter what you're doing. Whether you know it or not."

The people Bornstein left behind are still learning lessons from her. And working hard to make the world Bornstein left, a better place. 

Bornstein's parents say, "We're all one family. We're the human family and we need to just get along and be kind and loving toward one another."

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call Kern County Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-800-991-5272. 

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