You may say “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,” but the only thing I hear when you say these words are ¨Land of the Racist and Home of the enslaved.¨ Violence doesn't have a specific name, it doesn't target a certain race and it never looks for a face. Some people may be offended by the words I just spoke...But you can't look at our world today and tell me I'm not speaking the truth. Beaten, Bruised, Killed, Gunned down, Chained...All of these things still currently happening today and they even happened hundreds of years ago.
“Look at me when I'm talking, boy.” “Hands behind your head back towards me.” “Get on the ground right now!” These phrases have scared our Black kings and queens for years. Youth violence is a very disturbing, crucial, and heartbreaking topic. You may want us to write about it, but our writing hasn't made an impact on youth violence. Do the Write Thing has been happening for almost three decades and you have yet to do the right thing in reality. I hope that this will be the last youth violence letter that you will have to read.
One of the main things that spike youth violence is racism. Racism is a way to ensure white survival. Police brutality is a huge part of youth violence. If you want youth violence to end, you have to actually make a change. I know I won't be the first child to say this, but I want to be the absolute last. The most abused person in America is a Black American woman. The most unprotected thing in America is an African-American man.
We have to stop abusing and start protecting. A wise math teacher that paid more attention to black history more than any eighth-grade teacher I know once told me, “speak your truth even if your voice trembles.” I don't want you to just listen to me speak these words. I want you to feel the pain hear the roar and see the struggle. My people struggle with youth violence the most. We literally fight to survive and make it everyday. Many of us can't walk around with a black hoodie on. We can't walk into a store without people instantly thinking we are going to steal. I don't know how to make it anymore clear that you can't just push these things into the dark.
I won't let these things be pushed into the dark anymore. I will bring these things out of the dark no matter how hard, brutal, and painful the journey may be. If your reading or listening to this letter you have now been brought into the light. You can’t turn away, you can't just brush it off. You can’t look over it because this burden is so big that it goes right over your heads. I bet you didn't get what I just said did you...I’m not saying you as in one person I’m saying as the population in America and the government let these things just happen and exist.
You need to step up! Speak out and make it known that you are here and you will force a change! You don’t know what's behind a closed door until you open it. Your eyes are the doors, the world is behind them. You have to open your eyes and see the truth. If I die from knowing, remember me for speaking.
Story by Aniya Griffin