Take Up Your Pen

#dearblackgirl: You are somebody.

April 12, 2016

Our team is still floating from all of the love and magic we felt during our time at the Black Girl Movement Conference this past weekend. We will share more about our experience later this week, but make sure to check out the awesome tweets and conversations about the conference. Today, we want to maintain the energy that we felt from the conference by providing a new #dearblackgirl letter penned by Jasmine Salters. Thanks Jasmine for taking up your pen!

Dear Black Girl,

You are somebody. You are somebody and you are enough. Growing up, I wish I’d heard this more–on those days when I sat alone in the cafeteria, the mornings I stood in front of the mirror questioning my beauty, all the times I was picked last for a team in gym class, the afternoons my crush walked past me in the hallway without even a glance as if I were invisible. You are enough. I know that my mother and the other Black women in my family–my grandmother, nana, aunts, older sister, and cousins—tried their best to instill in me a sense of self-worth but their words and actions seemed more like familial requirements than mere truths. It has taken me over two decades to see the legitimacy and value in their declarations, their hugs, their smiles, their yells. It is my hope that you realize this sooner.

You are enough. This may be hard to believe at times with the endless media images portraying us as any and everything we are not and all those unfortunate, misinformed people who will tell you otherwise. (In the words of Zora Neale Hurston, “Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”) There will be times when you will doubt yourself and your worth, when you will be made to feel like you are not enough. Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not light enough, not tall enough, not smart enough. You are enough. You must realize that it can be hard for others to see your beauty when they cannot see their own. You are enough.

You are part of a long lineage of Black girl magic, from your ancestors who came to America on slave ships, singing songs of freedom in shackles to the greatest writer of all time in the entire world (for real), Toni Morrison. I’ll let you in on a little secret: every time you walk down the street, you leave a trail of invisible glitter behind. Black girl magic. Just ask Quvenzhané Wallis.

I am somebody and I am enough. Say those seven words to yourself every day. Life changes in the most magical of ways once you start to believe them.

With all my Black girl love and magic,

Jasmine

Post #27-saltersJasmine Salters is a 26 years old writer and long-time student from Lakeview, NY. 

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