Well, here we are. Almost 5 years to the date, and I am writing another open letter to my young brown children, The first one was written June 10, 2015. I haven’t been writing because I haven’t been able to find the words. But I owe it to my children to share what I can so that they are able to stand in their own power.
I saw this tweet from Luvvie earlier, and it gave me pause. It explained what so many of us are feeling right now. Yes, we have hope. Yes, we meditate, pray, go to therapy and other things to deal with the anxiety. But sometimes, we just feel like we are constantly gasping for air.
I don’t know how we catch our breaths in a world that punches us in the chest as we’re already gasping for air.
— Luvvie is writing book 2 (@Luvvie) June 15, 2020
This is why I needed to sit down and breathe. And then put these thoughts into words. It’s never easy, but my hope is that when they are feeling defeated, these words can give them power and motivate them. They’re no longer “little”, but now young amazing brown children. We are so very blessed to have each of them. And I don’t ever want them to forget that!
And for those moms that have been struggling with the words too, I sure hope this can be of some help for you.
Open letter to my young brown children
Dear Jr, Bri and Livy,
The fact that I have to write this; that I have to muster up the words to formulate into coherent sentences sucks. But the older you kids get, the more I realize just how much you need to hear my voice. You need to hear the thoughts and affirmations that your dad and I want them to keep in your hearts.
I know I shared this post when you were younger, but I wanted to share 7 more things I want you to always keep in mind.
1. Never apologize for who you are
Being black is a blessing. Regardless of how we are treated or viewed – always remember you come from royalty. There is so much power in your melanin and you should always walk with your head held high. Keep on loving the skin that you’re in because it was blessed by God.
The confidence that each of you radiates on your own really blesses my heart. Keep that confidence because it is what will deter people from trying to change who you are.
2. Never allow anyone to mistreat you
This includes those you call friends. If they are not sharing words that make you feel good about yourself, they are not your friends. If they can’t come to your side when they see someone else mistreating you, it’s time to find a new friend. Should they ever disrespect you in any way, don’t ever make excuses for them. You can forgive without allowing them to continue to mistreat you.
I know this is easier said than done, especially knowing that you all have a piece of my introvert personality in you. However, if I knew then, what I know now, I would fight and push through.
3. Yes, Black Lives (Still) Matter
Your. Life. Matters. Bri, you recently asked me what does this mean? It means so many things. Most importantly, it means that our lives have never been valued as much as they should. This young protestor spelled it out so clearly. Until black lives really matter to everyone, all lives can’t “matter” like people say. All we ever want is to feel safe.
View this post on Instagram
Just in case anyone needs help understanding. This little girl’s sign says it all! Feel free to share or use for the good of the cause! I’m overwhelmed with the amount of positivity. There’s hope because there’s more love than hate in the world! #blacklivesmatter #justiceforgeorgefloyd #wemaynotfullyunstandbutwearewithyou koi
This is not something that should scare you. But rather something that should enlighten you to speak up whenever anyone makes you feel less than.
4. It’s okay to not want to talk about it
Some people will have you believing that you always have to be “on”. If there comes a point in time where the news scares or overwhelms you (and it will), step away. Tell your friends to stop sending you links and that you’re taking a break.
There will be times you don’t want to talk about it at all. Maybe you can’t find the words. Or maybe you’re scared. Maybe you don’t know how to communicate your feelings. And that’s okay. Sometimes our brains just need a break from it all.
5. It’s not okay to never talk about it
I get it. It’s scary. It can be infuriating. But just like we expect white people to have conversations in their homes about race, we need to have them too. We may not always know how to talk about it, but we will work through it together. Keeping everything bottle up inside for too long is never a good thing.
If you ever feel like you can’t talk to me or daddy, let us know. We will find someone that you will feel safe and comfortable talking to. You know we talk about the power of the mind so much. It’s because it is so important. We want to protect your powerful mind and help you filter through the things that are hard.
6. Racism sucks.
All aspects of it. As you get older, you will start to notice it more. Just know that it is never okay to be treated differently simply because of what you look like. Subsequently, you should never treat anyone else that is different like they are not worthy of being valued and respected.
I can only pray that this will be the last time that I have to write a letter like this. But literally, since I started writing I learned of two more names that need to be added to a long laundry list of hashtags.
7. You are way more valuable than a hashtag
When black people die at the hands of injustice, they immediately become a hashtag. #SayHerName #JusticeForFILLINTHEBLANK. I am choosing to write and share this open letter so that one day you and your children won’t have to create the same hashtags, organize the same protests or shed the same tears over the senseless acts of injustices to black people.
My young brown children: You are brilliant. You are amazing. You are worthy. Never underestimate your power and your importance to the world. You can be upset, hurt or confused by all of this. But don’t ever lose hope in what the world can become. And don’t ever lose your faith in yourself or in what God can do. No one can ever take away your black girl magic and your black boy joy. Always shine bright. Always stick up for yourself and each other.