These Two Miami Girls Are More Alike Than They Are Different
"We have the same birthday and the same soul."
Jia Sarnicola and Zuri Copeland are both four years old. They share the same birthday month. Jia was born on June 3 and Zuri was born on June 5—just two days later. They enjoy the same activities and games. For all the things the Miami-based girls have in common, there is one notable difference between Jia and Zuri: race.
Jia is Caucasian with blonde, straight hair and Zuri is African-American with black, curly hair. And yet, they've managed to forge a bond that goes beyond their noticeable skin differences, choosing to embrace their similarities instead. Jia and Zuri's journey began two years ago when they first met at school. Jia's mother, Ashley Riggs Sarnicola, told ABC News that the two have been inseparable ever since. Jia even refers to Zuri as her twin sister.
"They're both little Geminis," said Sarnicola. "They have very strong personalities and are both super outgoing, well-spoken, intelligent, and not afraid to tell you what they want. They hit it off right away."
Zuri's mom, Valencia Copeland, added that the girls "connected very well immediately."
According to Sarnicola, Jia and Zuri's ability to look past their skin color can be attributed to the fact that they reside in a diverse neighborhood.
"I think that's one of the nice things about growing up in a multicultural, melting pot city," Sarnicola told ABC News. "They don't see color. We've never talked to them about it, period."
Which is why when the girls attended a mutual friend's birthday party recently, neither could grasp why other children couldn't see their friendship the way they've viewed it these past two years.
"They were waiting in line to get their faces painted," Sarnicola explained. "She [Jia] was telling a girl's older sister they were twins, and the girl gave her an odd look and said, ‘You're not twins.' My little girl started bawling crying because she truly believes she and Zuri are twins."
After drying her tears, Jia gave an appropriate response. It's a lesson in tolerance that we all can learn from the four-year-old girl.
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According to Sarnicola, Jia told the young girl chiding her that she and Jia "have the same birthday and the same soul."
"When she said that, it took me aback," Sarnicola said. "It was so sweet."