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to all my brothers and sisters who are changing the world and unrecognizably in the shadows, this one is for you.

The pain.

The exaustion.

I feel it within myself as well.

In the midst of living in a social climate where one is constantly reminded of the significant level of submissive anti-blackness in the current social climate along with the hopelessness within the eyes of one when flashing red and blue lights haults them in the middle of the night reminded us the unique navigation of living black in America.

Living begins to feel like a race

A race that forces to sprint the first couple miles causing us to run out of breathe

We soon become brought to our knees trying to breathe in midst of many more miles to go

The weather is dreary

The terrain is terrible but yet the race continues

Even thougnh when our paths are blocked and know that we can’t and never wil win……………..we still run

We simply endure

Endure the resilence.

Endure past the trailblazing presence of black arts and culture

Enduring past emotions that makes us feel validated

To every smart, beautiful, and resilient Black body:

I’ll never forget the moment I realized the disposability of folks with my body in America 

I was the black girl with barrettes engulfed in my kinky coils standing next to perfection

Her name was Crystal

In my head, I called her “Crystal Clear” since she reminded me that my skin “clearly” made me not the her-the epitome of beauty

I remembered her warm smile being bright like a diamond 

The brightness always dimmed when she looked at me making the air cold

That was the first of many times I would get this look

She hated me, but he didn’t even know me. 

We were kids — there were so many things we had yet to learn, but somehow, he knew already that he hated me. 

“Why is your hair so stiff”

The words stung like snake venom

I didn’t know how to process them

I didn’t know what it was to be hated and scorned as a Black woman until that day, but even though it was the first day, it wouldn’t be the last

However, when I look at you my wonderful black bodies I brightness within your sparkling eyes 

An autonomous individual capable of determining who they want to be and controlling thy expression despite giving power to the darkness of society

To my beloved and benevolent black souls, through troubled waters 

To be the first and last person to admire yourself

There will be the you that society has molded, the you that your family has molded, and the you that you are compelled to be. Then there will be the version of you that will set you free, unbinding you from the shackles of intergenerational trauma.

No, it will not eliminate the oppression that you will endure, but it will grant you the liberty to live on and find meaning in spite of it

I know these things because I survived them and I know that the phenomenal black soul behind this screen will too

Our struggle isn’t normal and our responses shouldn’t be as well

Prioritze healing community and rest

As I continue to live unapologetically black I recognize that anyform of self love is a revolutionary

I support your black life

I value your black life

I feel your black life and most importantly

your beautiful black life matters

With love and tenderness


Makayla Greene

Winthrop '24

A brown girl exuding Cindy Crawford and Ms. Frizzle.
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