One of the things I have always thought was important is for us to share our stories. When we do so we amplify our voices, show our uniqueness and the beauty that lies within each our individual struggles and triumphs. You never know who may have need to hear what you have to share on any given day. It’s amazing how sharing your truth can change someone’s perspective and deepen your connection to others.
As a mixed-race black child adopted by white parents and growing up in a white community, being black was in no way celebrated and Black History certainly wasn’t taught in school. It was quite the opposite. I was bullied for the color of my skin, the texture of my hair, the width of my hips and the thickness of my lips. The racial slurs were endless so, you can imagine the years of therapy it has taken to undo the feelings of self-hate and unworthiness that amassed during my youth.
Since I was being fed the same negative images as my peers about Black people and the Black community through television and the media, I never wanted to own my blackness as a child. Needless to say, growing up I had no understanding of Black History, Black culture, or the Black family. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC to go to college when I started to make Black friends and date Black men that I felt safe to explore this part of myself and started to do the work to learn about Black History. I was awed by the layers. The pain and struggle, joy and triumph, strength and resilience, pride and richness in the tapestry of Black culture. It was then that I was able to begin the long and slow process of healing and accepting myself.
For those of you who had reached out to your Black friends, colleagues, relatives and such last year at the height of BLM asking “What can I do to support you?” I hope you are still here and fully present. You are just one google search away from a huge wealth of knowledge, so take in all of the information that will be provided to you this month, as it’s the ultimate opportunity to learn more, grow more and understand more. May this extend out beyond the month of February and into the fabric of your life.