Published on November 11, 2022.
By: Lavanya Kathirgamanathan
This is a fill in the blank exercise that I have created for a Black man and a Black woman to fill out. I have asked them to share their personal experiences with their feelings and perspectives towards Black identity and the Black community. I have also asked for their opinions on life experiences. As an ally, I aim to hear their voices to understand their emotions. I wish to share these emotions with a like-minded audience. Enjoy.
My name is Avery Campbell.
I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY LIFE because God chose me to be one of the few Black men alive to see age twenty-one.
I AM FEARFUL FOR MY LIFE because the violent killings targeted towards my people, broadcasted daily on social media, has made me fear my life knowing it could have and still can be me.
I AM CAPABLE of stepping out of the stereotypical boundary Black men get placed in—I lead by example, excelling in everything I do despite the odds currently stacked up against me.
I AM INCAPABLE of understanding how a human being can despise someone because of the colour of their skin.
I AM STRONG because I have learned from Black leaders who prevail in all battles and moments of opposition.
I FEEL WEAK when my past self starts to come to light—I get flashback’s of the times that I did not know how to stand strong when facing racial oppression.
I AM HAPPY because my mom raised five beautiful Black boys and this motivates me to hopefully be half as strong as her one day.
I WORRY A LOT because I am afraid to be deemed as a stereotype.
I AM PROUD of my grandma and uncle. They are two of the most intelligent and sweet souls God has created on this planet. My brothers and I are fortunate to have been raised by them. They have been my constant motivators and enable me to be the best version of myself, strong.
I FEEL UPSET when people constantly try to tell me what I can and cannot do based on the colour of my skin.
ONE THING I WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT THE WORLD is the divide among each other. Unfortunately, many fail to realize that we are all truly brothers and sisters. God placed all of us on this earth to survive. Though our skin colour is different, we all share the same blood.
I ASPIRE TO BE as strong as my mother. Her name is Wendy Saunders. When she was growing up, the racial divide was brutal. She went through hell and back and still managed to raise the five of us on her own. God bless her.
I GET UPSET when people judge me based on how I look before getting to know the type of person I truly am.
I FEEL FEAR when I walk through my neighbourhood at night. My neighbourhood is beautiful, lined with expensive homes. To tell you the truth, there are not too many Black people where I live. When I walk at night, I worry that someone will think I do not belong.
I HOPE others reading this can see themselves through my story.
I WILL achieve my dreams by following the yellow brick road my Black family, friends, and peers have paved ahead for me.
I WONDER what the world would be like if everyone truly loved one another.
I LOVE BEING BLACK because people who did not appreciate me as a Black man saw me as strange, but in reality I am a superpower. As my family and I continue to fight the war against racism my ancestors went through, I am able to stand strong as a free Black man among everyone.
They paved the way for greatness for me. I will follow the yellow brick road, grateful and humbled to carry the torch.
MY NAME IS Avery Xavier Campbell.