By Kayln Wilson
Dear Young, Black Men,
I took a while to write this because I wanted to be formal. I wanted stats and facts about the daily attacks you face. I wanted some credibility behind the claims I’ll make. But I don’t need them. All I need is my genuine heart.
I’m not going to waste time telling you that you matter. That goes without saying. Your flesh and blood and spirit and soul tell me that. I’m here to tell you something beyond that.
I believe in you.
You are more than the over-hyped stereotype that this world has to reassure is visible. Yes, we see you, but in what light? You’re more than a charity case, an endangered species or a victim of an unjust justice system. You are more than a miracle when you make it or an expected statistic when you don’t.
You are a king.
As a black woman, I am used to being told things like know your worth and you are a queen. But as a younger sister to two, breathtakingly amazing black brothers, a friend to several living-in-excellence young, black men, a daughter to a brilliant and steadfast black father and a young, black woman who dreams to have an equally amazing and astonishing black husband one day, I think it’s time that someone honors you.
You are capable.
This world continuously tries to reduce you to your dark hours, to your image, to your mistakes, to your shortcomings and your weaknesses, but you are so much more than that. You are intelligent, you are strong, you are talented and you are gifted. Your black is beautiful, too. You can make a way out of no way. You are not the symbol of fear; instead, you are an emblem of faith. I get it: sometimes it seems like you’ve got the world on your back. One misstep, and then it’s over. Here’s your peace: you can handle this. Your brilliance, prowess and strength are unparalleled.
You are needed.
Don’t let a soul tell you that you aren’t. There’s a whole world of people who did it “without you,” and so they do not need this, but those people were just resourceful, and rightfully so. You are needed. We need your innovation, your protection, your ambition, your charm, your wit – because you wouldn’t be here if we didn’t.
This world works better when everybody in it does their part. And I just wanted to tell you that nothing and no one can take that from you. Not the hateful opposers, not the misunderstood counterparts, not the bitter and broken other-halves, not the ignorant and misguided elders. No one. The only one who can steal your shine, your joy and your dreams, is you.
You have the power.
Just like anyone else in the world has the strength and power to conquer and change and claim dreams, so do you. Never stop dreaming of the day when your sons won’t have to be taught police etiquette, when people won’t marvel at you when you are a husband and involved father in the lives of your children, when people love you for more than your music, art or physical abilities, when people won’t be surprised when you are educated and manage to climb to the top of a company or when you are no longer the exception to the rule—you are the expectation.
This is just a young black woman who wants to celebrate your greatness as you are and encourage you in the pursuit for your dreams. I just wanted to say I love you when no one else does, I see the real you when others are stuck on a negative idea of you and I believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself.
Let’s wear our crowns proudly, together, and do what we were put here to do: to serve and succeed. The world needs us to.
A Young, Black Woman