To Our Black Students, with Love, is a series of letters from the SLCC student body to our Black students. The Office of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs started this letter campaign to show solidarity with our students in response to the Zoom bombing that occurred during the Black History Month Poetry Slam hosted by the Black Student Union in February 2021. Read more letters here.
I grew up in a foster family in north Jersey. Some of my best friends were Black and Latino, and even since a young age I could see racism hurting them on a near daily basis. I was adopted as an infant, but my entire growing up my brothers and sisters that would come through (about a dozen in total over the years) came from all backgrounds and ethnicities. I learned very young that the world is a mean, nasty, hypocritical, and ignorant world. My brothers and sisters of color, who were just kids, would get racially harassed. Because we were all different colors, my mom would be called a slut by people thinking she was sleeping around.
The only other kid my family ended up adopting was a Black child named Jadé. She’s my sister. She has lived through the entire array of racism and even its violent forms, unfortunately. I know the deep wounds of racism all too well as it has affected our whole family. My heart goes out to you, believe me. It hurt, but I made a choice young that I will continue to make the rest of my life: to speak out, advocate, empathize, don’t act like I know exactly what it’s like as a person of color since I am white, but do my best to stand up with you, validate your real concerns and do something about it with you, and utilize my unique experiences to speak out and never stand by.
I originally thought doing this would be corny, and maybe this will get lost in emails and no one ever reads this, but my mom always taught me to do something about something. There can be no exceptions when it comes to advocacy and unconditional love and support.
You are loved. You are supported. The feelings and experiences you say you have that people very well try to discount or disbelieve, saying “you’re making it up” or “you’re making a big deal out of nothing to get attention,” are real and true, and I stand by you and all you say you have felt and experienced as a Black person. Your voice matters. Your perspectives and experiences are real and non-debatable. You are examples of Black excellence to my sister, my other Black family in NJ, and to my white family members, and I thank you personally for that. Your perseverance and strength inspires me.