I am sorry, for I’m ignorant of your existence. I do not know your struggle, your pain, your experiences, or your name. I do not know your culture, your religion, your language. I do not know you. Despite this, I know your soul, your heart, your strength. I know the strength I have derived from the systematic oppression that exploited your body, your labor, your love, your loss, and your culture. I know the soul that inspired generations of art that now defines a nation you were killed for. I know your beauty rooted deeper than your brown skin, skin filled with melanin as a blessing solely from the divine. Through insistent education, I learn of your home, your crown and country. I learn of the beautiful civilizations filled with cultures and languages gone from my vernacular, art destroyed as a sacrifice to The West. I have learned the beauty harnessed in all from our natural hair to our soul infusing itself in all we do. I have learned the diligence and love that built this nation. Because of your struggle, I now know more of who we are.
Often forgotten, we are a people bleached from a history of colonists, justified under a bastardized interpretation of the words of a just God. We find affirmation in the beauty that we choose to define, far from the definition of our oppressors that seek to once again exploit us. We find reason and value in life because we know the value in the lives of our ancestors, a value that was blatantly ignored. We seek a future with inclusion beyond the dreams of our ancestors, a future that is not just Afro-futuristic, but purely the equitable and just society that respects our culture we desperately try and piece back together. We demand respect for our existence, a respect ignored for generations and continually substituted for a modernized racism.
To my ancestors, know that we are still fighting, we are still striving, and every day we pray to you and the divine for wisdom, love, and protection. We know that we are strong, soulful, and beautiful, not because of the acknowledgements from our oppressors that comes so few and far between, but because your beautiful bodies bestowed it upon us.
Blessed by your love,