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Dear Black Community-an open letter!

Aug 26, 2021

As I watch the news, read social media posts and see videos of families pleading for change (once again), I too write this with a heavy heart. A mother recently shared that her son is afraid of leaving the house because he is afraid that people will not see his humanity, but see a Black man that is a threat to them and society. At this moment, I am very aware of my blackness and that of my wife and young children. I am aware of it as we take family walks, as I leave the house to run errands, as I mow the lawn, as I walk to the mailbox, as I wear my mask, and as I sit on my deck. Despite the many narratives that you are being exposed to from a variety of sources, I want my Black community to reflect on the following things:

1. Your Blackness is beautiful. It is valuable. It commands respect. It represents a strength that has allowed you to endure in the face of discrimination, racism, marginalization, and strife that only we can understand. Walk towards your destiny with pride. Your Blackness is beautiful.

2. Your Blackness is not a mistake. Reject and renounce any internal racism that you may be feeling. You stand on the shoulders of giants that have paved the way for you. Know our history and let the echoes and whispers of those that have gone before us allow you to find your voice. Then, use that voice to send sound waves into your present and future that will disrupt mediocrity and change structures, systems, and ways of being that keep us contained, suffocated, and disempowered.

3. Within each of you lie seeds that will bring change. Those seeds are your personal narratives and stories. Storytelling is an important part of your heritage, it’s in your DNA. Use it as a vehicle to inspire change. As people listen, they will hear your truths and see the humanity we all share.

4. Don't suffer or process the current environment in isolation. Reach out to your support systems, family, and friends. Whether it’s through video chats, phone calls, and text messages, the community is essential. Process your pain in the community and then use your collective voices to amplify the call for change in our nation and the world.

5. Practice mindfulness, prayer, meditation, and journaling as you internally process events of racial injustice. Do not let fear and anxiety consume you. Don’t let it cripple you. Don’t let it silence you.

Though many may not understand our struggle, it is not our job to convince people of our humanity. We have to know who we are, love who we are, and not allow past injustices to change our identity. Now go and live a life that is worthy of your calling.