My name is Bria Scott. I am a 19-year-old student at Howard University. I am a sister to two. I am a daughter. I have received numerous awards and accomplishments in my life. I have sat down with those from far and wide, famous and otherwise. Regardless of these things, though, I will still be seen as simply and only BLACK.
Dear America, I see many of you complaining about the looting and destroying of businesses. I see you saying #AllLivesMatter. And most disturbingly I see many of you continue with your daily lives with not as much as a post, acknowledgement or even a repost — those that claim to love me and my culture, and those who will return to many of these tactics once this time passes.
Dear America, I am angry because every time I say goodbye to my boyfriend, my dad and my male friends, I fear that it could one day be the last. Unfortunately, it’s not just those lives that I am concerned about. Due to the unaddressed killing of Breonna Taylor, I fear for the life of my soon-to-be 16-year-old sister, my mom, my female friends, my cousins and any Black person in this world who feels instant fear at the sight of blue lights or those in a badge.
Dear America, I understand that you are confused and that you have never seen a time like this, but I am confused why I had to explain to my 4-year-old cousin that he must be careful around the man with “POLICE” written across his back and why they will never be your number one protector. I am confused as to how the most powerful man in the country is acting as though he is more concerned with America looking weak than the lives lost every single day at the hands of officers. I am just so confused.
So, I am pleading with you America, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t tell me you’re afraid for your business to be looted or destroyed, that the cops being hurt in the protest don’t deserve that treatment or that the protesting is taking it “too” far. It may take a while, but your business will be rebuilt and the injured will be healed, but the dead will never come back to life. Please don’t tell me AlL LiVeS MaTtEr, because if they did I wouldn’t be writing this today … We aren’t fighting to hear that. We are fighting so that we will no longer be looked at as less than human.
Dear Americans, both White and Black, I am seeing those of you who have said nothing, those of you who have chosen to argue although you know what is going on is wrong and those of you siding with a president who hasn’t, will not and will never be on the right side of history because he is not a president for all. I see you.
So, dear America, this is not a letter from an angry Black woman — this is a letter from a tired Black woman. A woman tired of seeing the names on the list grow, a woman tired of being scared for her life and those around her, a woman who has watched Black men and women who have worked 10 times as hard or harder only to be looked at as less than because of the color of their skin. America, I am exhausted, but like many, my fight has not ended but just begun. I will never stop correcting or educating. I will no longer be quiet to make someone feel comfortable. I will no longer look at the color of my skin in confusion because you don’t understand, because I do understand and I will never question it again. I will march, protest and fight because much like Sam Cooke said, “I know one day a change will come.”
Dear America, there will never be enough words, actions or protests to accurately portray the feelings that I and many others around the world feel, but what is happening is truly JUST scratching the surface. Instead of questioning the looting, the riots, the protests and everything in between, ask yourself how you can help. How can you use your privilege? And this is not a message to only White America, but to Black America, too, who has chosen to be silent at a time such as this. Ask yourself, if it was me, would you care? If it was your sister or brother, your favorite rapper, your nanny, your gardener or your next door neighbor, would you speak up then? Don’t wait for what if; choose now. Use your privilege, donate to the cause, attend a protest, do your part and step up. Say something, even if it is a repost. Your voice could educate and influence even one more person.
Dear America, please, not just for you and me but for your children and your children’s children, do better.
Dear America, remember their names, use your voice and never, ever stop fighting.
I’ll leave you all with this: “We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.” 1 John 4:19-21 NLT.
Bria Scott is a 2018 graduate of St. Paul’s Episcopal School and a student at Howard University.
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