Nicole Paultre Bell became a household name—but not from success or fame but because of the infamy of her fiance Sean Bell’s death on Nov. 25, 2006, the night before their wedding.
Fifty shots rang out that night, claiming Sean’s life and severely wounding his two friends Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman. Each officer involved in the deadly shootings was found not guilty. Eleven years later, there is still no justice, and almost every day, it seems, another black man or woman’s untimely death is represented in a hashtag.
Nevertheless, Nicole continues to fight for the man who would have become her husband if police brutality didn’t exist. She wants people to know that Sean was a family man who was shy and determined.
Nicole also wants to show others that one can survive tragedy. Now married, to Jemal Earle, she says, “I never made it down the aisle on Nov. 25, 2006. I never imagined that I would become a Mrs. It’s important for me to continue to move on and move forward.”
She continues, “From any tragedy can come triumph. That has been my entire mission for over a decade now—it’s been showing people who have lost their loved ones at the hands of any type of violence that you can overcome—that every voice, you have great power.”
Watch Nicole tell her and Sean’s story in the Growing Pains video above.