Dear young black boys,

I can't imagine what you may be feeling as you grow up seeing videos of black men women and children be killed in the media like their lives mean nothing. I hope by the time you grow up, the world is truly a different place. I want you to know that a lot of times you will be seen as something to fear. As a black man, you will have a lot on your shoulders. It is okay to see a therapist. It is more than ok to let your emotions show. You're not less of a man if you cry. Be vulnerable! Be willing to express how you feel, voice your opinions, and be willing to hear other perspectives that differ from yours. I know right now America may be a scary place to live in right now but we're working to make sure things won't be like this when you grow up. I want to tell you that you won't be able to raise your voice or you'll be viewed as hostile. I know its not the norm, but try to uplift one another especially while at school. I want you to be able to be confident in who you are. You can love gymnastics, swimming, golf, robotics, medical work, not just football, and basketball. You don't have to be good at sports to be considered "A Man."

I could go on for days on things I want to say to the young black boys of West Alabama. So many life experiences that come with being black, living in the hood, trying to make it out and do better for yourself and your family are all things I can relate to. If there was anything I'd want to tell the young black boys of West Alabama it is to be smart and get involved in your community. This is the place where you and your loved ones will spend a lot of time. If you can help it, you want to make sure the elected officials have your community's best interest in mind. If you're of age, register to vote and encourage your friends to do so as well. This is how we start to make changes in our communities.

Dear young black boys, remember you are unique, you are worthy, and you can do anything you put your mind to!



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