What does being black mean to you?
To me being black is a way of life more so than just a race. Its a vibe an energy of perseverance. Its a privilege and an honor because of the attention that it draws. Its also humbling; being black early on you learn to accept the things that are unacceptable. You learn not to drive past police cars on highways, you learn not to draw too much attention in public. You understand that it take 150% of doing everything right to get the same acknowledgement or recognition as the next mans 60%. Its an uphill battle scratching clawing fighting to achieve something and not being viewed as a black person who achieved it, but just a person who achieved it. It means being the minority of the country we live in but the majority of the culture. Which leaves so many of us zapped of energy and confused on how we can be so influential yet looked down upon. Being black means starting the race of life with everyone else in front of you and still being expected to win.
What’s your earliest memory of experiencing racial injustice?
My very first memory of this is probably my very first memory of school period. I was one of 6 black kids in my whole grade in kindergarten. That means a lot of the things my classmates would do I wasn’t able to do. The same things they got away with I wasn’t afforded that leniency. I was a culture shock for not only the students but the teachers as well.
How did you move passed it? And what’s your why to keep going?
At 5/6 years old you have no resemblance of what racism is or what it feels like I was just a kid at school trying to fit in. My parents definitely took notice of this and got my Kindergarten teacher changed. I can’t say that had a vast improvement on the circumstances but maybe from their viewpoint it did.
Who is someone that has helped support you to get you to where you are today?
I can’t really limit this area to one person but if I were to I’d say my dad. He was the first person to open my eyes to the realities of the world rather that be good or bad. He showed me how to be a man, how to handle every situation that could possibly come my way. He showed me how to survive being a young black male in this world. I was schooled on how to be a man of understanding, to know to approach every situation according. How to be respectful and how to stand up for what you believe is wrong without budging.