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An Open Letter to my Children: Continue to Shine Despite Racism, Social Injustice!

Updated: 7 days ago



By DIANA KINIMAH


June 9, 2020


Dear Emily and Edwin,


I must confess that I am experiencing a little bit of anxiety as I begin to write this letter to you. My fear does not stem from racism, but rather from the fact that in this short letter I will not be able to discuss in-depth how wonderful you both are.


For many decades, black people - along with other minorities - have experienced discrimination and continuous microaggressions, all on account of the colour of our skin. We have been portrayed as being ignorant, uneducated, over-represented, and dependent on welfare systems.


Over the last few weeks, we have seen what has happened to our brothers and sisters south of the border. Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey and the latest being Gorge Floyd, just to name a few, were killed. When you asked me why, I was short of words to explain because I did not understand it either, except to pin it down to their skin colour.

In your little minds, I know you are scared, wondering how your future will look. Even though racism in Canada is systemic and very subtle, it is my responsibility to talk to you about it.


To you, Edwin, I know how intelligent you are. Out of the 26 students in your class, you are counted among the brightest. Your photographic memory makes you unique. Your knowledge of astronomical science is beyond my imagination. Continue to shine!


To you, Emily, you are beautiful in your brown skin. Your curly hair and brown eyes brighten every room you enter. Even at your age, you seem to have exceptional sensitivity to the needs of others and you are always ready to help in the most sensitive and gentlest of ways. I was not surprised when you said you would want to be a police officer when you grow up because you have a passion for helping others.


To both of you, remember that in your daily lives and as you grow older, you will experience racism.


Never lose your self-esteem, and know that you are wonderfully made, even if others make fun of you.


Always give reverence and respect to elders, friends, and colleagues when due, only in this way will this respect be reciprocated.


However, do not forget to stand your ground for the truth if you are treated unfairly or unjustly. Ask for help when you need to and communicate your thoughts clearly.


Be the best you can be.


Seek challenges that will enrich you mentally.


Learn from your failures.


I know some things may not make sense to you right now. Trust me, they don’t make sense to me either. But I want to you to know that sensitivity and perception have the power to make us more aware, not only of all that is good but also of things that are not quite right in the world today.


I urge you to seek out all that is good in the world, in others, and most importantly in yourself and everything else will take care of itself.


Do not fight bigotry with bigotry, racism with violence!


Know that I am here for both of you no matter what and will love and support you as you grow into your own unique beings. Go to wherever the breath of life carries you, be the beacon of light, illuminate the whole world because it belongs to you!


Love,

Mum

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Ottawa, ON, Canada

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