Four years ago, Christian Cooper was an avid birdwatcher whose life was thrust into the spotlight after an encounter with a white woman, Amy Cooper (of no relation), in a New York park, which became a viral example of racial profiling.

On Saturday (June 8), he became a Daytime Emmy Award winner in the Outstanding Daytime Personality category for his National Geographic show, “Extraordinary Birder,” all by following his passion. In his acceptance speech, he acknowledged that the accomplishment had been an unexpected journey, noting his queer upbringing in the 1970s and him being one of the few Black birdwatchers for years. “No matter what anybody says or does, we are not going back. We will only move forward together,” he said.

However, his journey was not without obstacles as demonstrated by his run-in with Amy, who became known as “Central Park Karen” for using her whiteness and air of entitlement to falsely accuse the Black man of harming her and subsequently putting his life in danger.

On May 25, 2020, he was in a wooded area known as the Ramble of Central Park watching birds when Amy interrupted his quiet pursuit by yelling for her unleashed dog. The Harvard alum asked her to leash her dog as park rules prohibit citizens from allowing their canines to roam freely. Instead of complying, the insurance portfolio manager became irate, informing him that she was going to call the police.

As she called 911, she threatened the esteemed writer and editor, whose work includes contributing to Marvel comics, by saying, "I'm going to tell them there's an African American man threatening my life." Christian captured the moment and more on his phone. It was shared on social media by his sister and quickly spread.

The following day, the woman was fired from her job at Franklin Templeton Investments. And as fate would have it, Christian's experience — which took place on the same day as the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd — led to the opportunity of a lifetime, his own show, which premiered in 2023.

He also penned a book, “Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World” and drew inspiration from the incident for the graphic novel “It’s A Bird,” that appeared in the first edition of DC Comics digital comic series “Represent!”