Dear Naomi (& Black girls everywhere)
Four weeks after your dad and I married, Barack Obama was elected president. A black family is in the White House for the first time ever, and yet the list of black people murdered by police keeps growing. At times I don’t know what to think. In many ways the country is better than when Grandmama was a girl, but we still need to say, “I can’t breathe” and “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” as we demand justice.
I want you to pay close attention to structural racism. Policies, elected officials and powerful institutions can make your life hell. Most black people I know have generational struggles of wealth, health, criminalization and everything in between.
And yes, there have been adults who were mad at you— a 3 year old— when you didn’t run to their open arms at first sight.
There is a popular term right now called, Black Girl Magic.
I define it as the ability of a black girl or woman to conjure excellence and creativity in spite of people trying to hold her down. It’s the ability to go far on an empty tank. To maximize little hope and to find ways to not only hang on but create just enough rope to lasso in whatever is necessary. It’s to be beautiful and talented while also being tired, depressed, broke, flawed, sad, angry, with no answers and with no place to lay your burdens down. And yet, somehow, some spiritual, magical, ancestral power butters her burdens like bread and she finds a way to rise.