Bonded by friendship, preschool "twins" swear they "share the same soul"

MIAMI -- Miami preschoolers Jia Sarnicola and Zuri Copeland say they are not best friends. They say they're closer than that -- closer than even mere sisters. 

In fact, Jia and Zuri truly believe they're twins. 

"They will tell you that they are twins, and they have a long list of reasons why to back it up," Jia's mother, Ashley, said. 

Asked what the girls believe makes a twin, Zuri's mother, Valencia, and Ashley both responded: "Similarities." 

For example, the girls say they're both four, their birthdays are practically the same day and, of course, the obvious physical similarities. They're clearly twins, which is why they also insist on matching outfits whenever possible. 

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Zuri, left, and Jia, right

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So far, Jia and Zuri's mothers have indulged them. But they also recognize there is some bitter to this sweet. 

"You know, you're happy for a few seconds, and then you become sad because they have to grow up, and then society takes over," Valencia said. 

Indeed, society has already tried to take over.

Last month, Jia and Zuri were at a birthday party when an older kid told them they couldn't be twins because they don't have the same skin color. Jia broke down, but through her tears, she got out a rebuttal. 

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Jia Sarnicola and Zuri Copeland swear they are twins.

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"You don't know what you're talking about," she said. "We're twins because we share the same soul." 

"I just get chill bumps," Ashley said. 

"I was just thrown by just that word," Valencia added. 

Obviously, what Sarnicola was trying to say is that at our core, we are one. And as we look back on this year, with all its division and racial strife, it's important to remember that while all this was going on, so was this. 

"We have a lot to learn and we can learn from children," Valencia said. 

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Ashley and Jia Sarnicola and Valencia and Zuri Copeland.

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In fact, the moms say they already have. 

"For sure, we've never talked too much on the phone," the mothers said. 

And that's what the twins want for all of us -- to push back against the cynics and to stop it with this discrimination business, once and for all. 

That way, they say we can move on to more important things in life. 

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com    

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.