I’ve known for a long time that racism doesn’t feel right, but recently I’ve really felt it on a personal level. I know what it is like for someone to walk away from me because they are not interested in what I have to say,but someone walking away because of my skin color is something I have never experienced. I know what it is like to sit shyly in the corner and keep my opinions to myself , but I’ve never been afraid to speak out because my listener would only see my heritage and not hear what I have to say.
I have seen young First Nation girls after they’ve cut their skin, out of hatred for who they are. I have seen the puzzled look on a young child’s face when the other children don’t welcome their friendship. My heart aches for the many confident, secure children who waste their teenage years, drop out of school and turn to substances to fill the empty hole the rejection leaves.
Discouraged people usually don’t have the confidence to show others who they are. I don’t know what it is like to be rejected as a minority, but I know these children and teenagers have within them the capability for success. The Creator has put a dream inside everyone of us. Many oppressed people never allow themselves to dream and therefore, never use the gifts they have been given. They go through life as miserable survivors and raise children who are survivors. They were created for so much more and the world is robbed of their gifts and purpose.
I recently saw one of my previous elementary students who is now a twenty-one year old man. He is still working on his high school degree and I encouraged him to finish. If I don’t believe in him, who will? I want to be the kind of person who guides the youth to be more, to dream big and to use their gifts on their journey on the path to the future.