Dear Editor and to whom else it may concern:
I am NOT voiceless in this country. I am ignored in this country. I am judged, discriminated against, and oppressed in this country. I do not need people to speak up for me. I have a voice of my own and I will use it to speak up for myself. I honor those who stand with me for change within the Black community across America.
I have been black in America for 28 years of my life. I have been followed around the store in a mall. I have been ignored on multiple occasions, in different restaurants, waiting for service, waiting for refills, waiting for my food. I’ve been told that a store is out of my price range and I would be better off at Walmart. I have been stared at by the cops in a public park, as I walk to my car. My very existence has been threatened for simply being a black student in America.
I have seen movie, after movie, after movie, depicting the “history” of race that generations before me fought to eradicate. That black men, once strangers, are now notorious because of the way they died by the hands of police officers that are still walking around with their freedom.
Meanwhile, my people are tossed and lost in the criminal system, many for non-violent offenses, and left there to be treated as the new slaves. My tears are endless. My fears are ever growing that my black friends and family may never make it home again.
My anger grows because for YEARS this has been our reality, and we’ve been thrown every excuse in the book! It’s time to remind the world, that THIS STRUGGLE has been our struggle since we were forcibly sold and brought to this country! I speak up, so that my kids don’t have to feel nervous and scared when they see the police. So that they don’t have to worry about making themselves assimilate into the dominant culture of society to feel accepted by their friends. So that we don’t have to have the talk about why I may not come home one day, about why we are being treated as threats in public, about why kids are making fun of their hair or their skin tones, about why another black man, black woman, were murdered by the hands of the police.
I am tired of feeling hopeless, feeling tired, feeling disgusted by the way my community is treated in a place we call home! Our time is NOW! Enough is enough. My friend’s lives matter! My family’s lives matter.! MY LIFE MATTERS! And until America changes the systematic racism to match the backbone of this country; equality and democracy for all. We will not stop marching, we will not stop fighting, we will not rest until we are given what we are owed!
Briana Hicks, Former Long Beach Resident