In this period of adversity, our country is grappling with anxiety and cross-cultural backlash. Every day our humanity is called into question, lines are drawn, and villains are rebranded. At the center of this percussive dissonance are America’s children. The youth are uniquely situated to bear witness and experience the effects to sociopolitical phenomena such as publicized instances of oppression, mayhem and suicide. This barrage of imagery, coded language, and violence conditions the mind and cuts deep, especially for children of color, as their identities are scrutinized during their development. They are challenged to use their voices while simultaneously germinating their place within society. This process leaves issues unresolved and damages mental health, and with so many communities in turmoil individuals find themselves parroting harmful patterns for survival/satisfaction. Safe spaces are needed.
There was a time when, as immigrants, you would take pride in the differences your people added to the idea of what America stood for. As a descendant of slaves, I am proud to know the contributions made to the world as we know it – contributions made by people whose bodies were beaten but whose souls refused to be discounted. It’s our differences that keep us aware of how we all contribute to the “collective”.