Sweet child,

This is for you whether you are a toddler or you’re middle school age. It’s for you too, high school student and college-aged kid. Your innocence is a gift. I’m here to protect it.

I need you to know—there is nothing wrong with you.

Your melanin skin, your hair or the shape of your nose.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you.

As a little girl, I wish I had heard this more. As a teenager, I wish I had heard this more. As a young woman, I still wish I heard this more now.

We live in a society that is almost programmed against you. American history books often don’t tell stories about your ancestors. When you shop for Barbie dolls, there’s not always a lot of diverse brown-skinned doll options. Cartoons and movies often portray characters who look like you to be the sidekick, a helper, a supporting role to the lead or some sort of comic relief.

I need you to know you have intrinsic value and worth, but there will be people who do not see it this way. They will villainize, label, belittle and stereotype you. Other people’s opinions do not define you.

I need you to know you have intrinsic value and worth.

Let me say it again so that you will remember: You are worthy. You are worthy. You are worthy. 

You have infinite value.

There’s nothing wrong with where you come from. Your zip code is not a number measurement of your worth. You come from a rich history of music, dance, creativity and art. You are the descendant of pioneers, inventors, kings and queens.

You are not less than. You are everything.

You are brave. You are smart. You are kind. You are witty. You are funny. You are creative. You are loved.

I’m sorry if you have not heard this enough, but let me shout it from the mountain tops. Grab my hand. I will fight for you. I will help you see who you are. I will love you fiercely and boldly.

Grab my hand. I will fight for you. I will help you see who you are.

Don’t wish away who you are. Don’t waste your time pretending or hoping you could be somebody or something else. There is greatness inside of you, a God-made miracle is what you are.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are perfect.

I will pick you up and wipe away your tears. I’ll give your hand an extra squeeze to let you know that it will be alright. I’m here. I see you. I will remind you who you are and whose you are until you no longer forget.

Sincerely,
A little black girl who grew up

How can we build up Black children with our words and action? In what ways does society lack representation for kids and youth of color?

Image via Tony Li, Darling Issue No. 24

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