I wake every morning, look in the mirror, and marvel at my beautiful black skin. My skin tells the world who I am. It announces that I am part of a unique group of people. Oppressed for centuries, our souls were never shackled, our spirits were never broke. The fire that burns within each of us was never extinguished. The sun shines upon this earth, giving all of us life, but it is my black skin that absorbs its energy and radiates with beauty. My skin is but one shade of a grand mosaic that is black; be it pecan, caramel, milk chocolate, or cacao, one thing is certain, they are all beautiful. Each day I look to the heavens and thank the Lord for my black skin because it declares openly to the world that I am special, I am strong, I am unique; I am black and I am beautiful.
In 2008 I was transfixed to my television screen with tears in my eyes as Barack Obama and his family celebrated his historic victory, becoming the first African American President of the United States of America in Chicago’s Grant Park.
Here was a moment I never believed I would live to see.
Here was a man that looked like me
Here was a family that looked like mine.
Here was a family that was now the FIRST family.
It was a moment that I will always remember. It said to me that maybe just maybe, America has turned a corner. Perhaps people of color will finally be afforded the respect that they have always deserved. Maybe America was finally going to live up to the words on which it was founded that all people are created equal. Maybe Doctor Martin Luther King Jr’s dream that we will be judged by our character’s content and not the color of our skin was finally on the cusp of becoming a reality.
But then came 2016, and even though, for eight years, President Obama and his entire family were the personifications of grace and dignity, America elected a man who was the polar opposite. A man who campaigned on division and tactically embraced racism. Maybe I thought to myself, America hasn’t turned that corner.
But as miserable as 2020 has been, something special was happening. 2020 saw the rise of the Coalition of the Righteous. A coalition of varying ethnic and religious groups, gender and sexual orientations, young and old, and they were ready to rebuke Donald Trump’s message of racism and bigotry.
Today the hope I had in 2008 is building in my heart again. On Saturday night, I beamed with happiness as I watch Senator Kamala Harris. a woman of color, address our country as the first female Vice President-Elect. It was an emotional moment as I thought to myself, for 400 years, they have tried to silence us, but here Senator Harris stood, and as she spoke, you could almost hear the wind whispering in the background saying:
WE ARE STILL HERE, AND WE ARE EXTRAORDINARY!
SAY IT LOUD I’M BLACK AND I’M PROUD!
You never saw me. Oh, you saw the color of my skin, but you never saw me.
How could you?
When I walked into the store, you were too busy following me around.
When I sat down at my desk, you were too busy wondering how I got into this school.
When I moved into my office, you were too busy thinking I was just another affirmative action hire.
When I moved into my home, you were too busy wondering if the property value would go down.
But what you didn’t see is while you were too busy to see me, I was too busy to see you either.
Not because of the color of your skin.
That was of no importance to me,
Because I know you have the system rigged against me
I was too busy studying and working twice as hard as you.
I was too busy finishing in the top 10% of my high school class.
I was too busy deciding what university was worthy of me accepting their full academic scholarship.
I was too busy graduating from that university summa cum laude.
I was too busy upon graduation shifting through my countless job offers.
I was too busy purchasing my home because that full academic scholarship I got meant I didn’t have all that student debt you did.
So since you can’t see me let me tell you who I am.
I’m that person who will never fake who I am to make you feel comfortable,
who has no desire to prove my worth to you,
who will never apologize for the hue of my skin.
So, you keep busy looking at my beautiful bronze skin
get with the times and see me for who I am.
Either way, I’m going to keep soaring.
Our lives have always mattered.
Our voices will never be silenced.
Our beauty is undeniable.
Our intellect is unsurpassed.
From our land, humanity was born.
From Kings and Queens, we descended.
Our freedom you did take
Our minds always have been free.
Our hearts always have been free.
Our souls always have been free.
And because you could not capture them.
We have soared
Our contributions undeniable, too numerous to dismiss
Our history is not just our history.
Our history is American history.
Like the giant oak tree, we are rooted in the very fabric of this country.
Without us, it would not exist.
As James Brown exclaimed
Say it loud
We are BLACK, and we are PROUD!
Donald Trump, we live in a world that has walls of racial inequities and injustices, and those walls have to be torn down by groups like ours. Who’s gonna do it for you? You Mitch McConnell? We have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You fight to “Make America Great Again,” and you curse Black Lives Matter. You have the luxury. You have the luxury of not experiencing what we do every day, that Racism, while seemingly invisible to you, is an inherent part of American culture and our existence while grotesque and incomprehensible, to you, is about making America live up to its promise that all people are created equal, about FINALLY MAKING AMERICA GREAT. We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain ourselves to a man who rises and sleeps under the freedoms of white privilege and then questions why we demand equality! We’d rather you just said ‘thank you’ and went on your way. Otherwise, We suggest you wake up and join us in the ever-expanding Coalition of the Righteous and stand for equality. Either way, we don’t give a damn what you think you makes America great.