BY SHELONDRA HARRIS ’17
Dear future children:
It is 2014, but it feels like 1964.
Although I’m currently a 19-year-old college student, I feel obligated to prompt you about the world I currently live in and how it will impact yours.
Black Americans are being murdered as a result of institutional racism and structural violence. The assailants go free without indictments or the slightest slap on the hand from the Police Department they belong to. Luckily, you no longer have to worry about your life being taken due to institutional, cultural or even interpersonal racism.
Your generation is referred to as Generation Rebirth. After hundreds of years of the oppression of people of color, it is finally a time where racism has been eradicated.
In 2014 there was a protest known as the Second Million Man march. I participated in this historical march, which protested the injustices the African American community face, particularly by the police. This march was different from all of the other protests of my generation because of its magnitude and the person leading it. The female Martin Luther King Jr. of the New Jim Crow era: Ashely Hill.
In the world you live in, the year of 2014 will go down as some of the greatest protests in the 21st century. It is a turning point in American History.
Atrocities such as the Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and Eric Garner cases have caused an enormous uproar from our community. These cases have prompted Black parents to have ‘the talk’ with their children.
This talk has nothing to do about sex and everything to do about what it’s like to be Black in America.
Growing up your uncle and I had to be given that ‘talk’. I still remember phrases such as “don’t talk back to the police” and even an apology for bringing us into such a cruel world where we are automatically disadvantaged because of who white America thinks we are.
You are lucky that you don’t have to have this particular talk anymore. We will not have to discuss what it means to be a Black person in a country with a history of regarding the African American community as a threat.
You don’t have to worry about being judged, hated, killed, discriminated against, or persecuted because of the color of your skin. You are free from the oppressive shackles of racism because of the great protests on legislation, the revamp on the police force and the erasure of racist policies and laws.
For now, it’s just the beginning of the turning point of the improved world I describe and which you will live. From 2014 onward we will never take a step backwards.
I can’t wait to meet you.