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How I Found Beauty in My Blackness

My path to becoming comfortable in my own skin and advocating for my rights

I, just like much of the world, was disgusted when I witnessed the murder of George Floyd; however, I was far from surprised.

You may have thought, “I’m shocked, How could something like this happen?” The racism that took Floyd’s life has called this country home from its inception. I am not new to addressing it at all.

Nearly four years ago, Alton Sterling was murdered by the police and I took to Instagram to address my fear associated with the killing. At the time, I was 16 and was aware that my blackness would often make my life more difficult, but I had not yet considered the threat it posed to non-black people in our society. My people and I were shaken to the core, but I did not witness such an outcry from the world like the one I’m seeing now. 

At 20, I feel more in control and more informed than I was before.

Much of that can be attributed to my increased knowledge of black culture and history. As a child, I often saw my lineage as a reminder of the suffering and loss my people have endured. However, I now take pride in the great triumphs that led to my birth.

My maternal great grandparents fled Jim Crow Alabama to seek a better life in the northern metropolitan area, Chicago.

Quite the journey, I know.

Their story was just one of many within the mass movement of African Americans out of the South known as the Great Migration. I find it inspiring that I'm a descendant from ancestors that overcame American slavery, but also Cape Verdeans who came to the states voluntarily on Portuguese whaling ships. 

At 15, I’d probably say the best way to empower myself in times like this would be to consume black art and music.