Hopes and Dreams for the Black Community: Aliia Matthew reflects on life as a Black woman.

Supposedly, the United States is the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” For centuries, Black Americans have been brave despite not being free.

We dream, we fight, we work to surpass obstacles. This land was built on our bondage, rather than for our freedom and pride. To be Black in America is to forever be foreign. It is to be strange: misplaced, miscolored, misunderstood. We were shuttled and shackled into this foreign land.

I long for headlines that highlight our Black pride. I want teachers to not just invite, but co-write with Black authors. I want music labels to celebrate Black queer art. I want the Christian church to be rid of segregated Sundays. I want us to highlight Black therapists. I want to eradicate redlined neighborhoods. I want Black environmentalists to go viral. I want Black children to find and create art that looks like them. I want Black trauma and mental health to be seen and validated. I want Black people to be “Blackity Black” without having to explain a thing.

To be Black in America is to be resilient and sufficient, holding value and promise beyond words. I am brave and free. I am proud to be Black with a capital B.

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