On the eve of your 18th birthday, I am hoping to give you some thoughts that will excite you about delving into what's ahead of you're beautiful, incredible and spirited life.
The beauty begins each time you pick yourself up and continue on a positive path no matter what others say or do. And when you realize that much of the hate, violence and simple apathy surrounding your presence has very little to do with you, but with how the world has been taught to view you as a very tall, very dark African-American male who represents their own confusion, ignorance, and fears.They do not understand that you are no one's enemy and that you are simply attempting to have a beautiful life.
With the wake of the new political administration, these are turbulent times. But guess what, since we as Africans and now African-Americans have arrived here since 1619, we have always endured turbulent times and yet we have done more than just survived.
We have resisted enslavement, refused to tolerate racism and injustice, built communities, and have become scholars.
Our scholars have helped us to embrace our power and greatness by educating us on African History and culture that was developed way before we arrived on these American shores shackled and chained.They have cited the existence of great kings, queens, empires, political systems, family structures and inventions.
This is not to say that I'm suggesting that we glorify our culture and pretend that we are perfect because that is simply not true.However, like every other culture, positive knowledge of oneself is what permits empowerment and character, hopefully, without arrogance. Acknowledging that we all have elements of beauty in our past and that it deserves to be recognized is paramount.
Since your birth, I have realized that you are incredible. You have sustained some ups and downs in your young life that many in your age group have yet to encounter. In spite of this, you've been able to hold fast with grace, a sense of humor and of course, the occasional outburst which is simply consistent with being a child, a teenager and now a young man.But don't worry; we as your elders will never permit you to lose yourself in any outrageous behavior without our firm council.
And now as a member of the community, as you approach adulthood, you're beautiful, incredible, the spirit will conquer the naysayers, accept challenges, admit your mistakes and use them as an elixir of strength.
And yes, we know that you are not Superman and that you will always require our assistance and love. And so we want you to know that we will always have your back, your front and be at your side.
What this means is: in the spirit of our ancestors, we surround you with hope, love, and light.