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Letter to the Black Woman who breathes through her pain...

Dear sister,

I saw you struggling. Your foot bounced, your shoulders curled with the weight of your life and your eyes swung wildly left and right looking for someone, something you could break on. There was a crowd of people between us, I watched from a distance as you stood to pace wringing your fingers, and the crowd parted to avoid you. I saw when you finally made the decision to be brave and ask for help. You turned to the white man who stood ahead of you and asked him a question I couldn't hear, but what I did see was his dismissal of your effort to solve the problem that had tears brimming over your lids.

I saw you take a breath, a shuddery one that lifted your shoulders to your chin. The same shoulders you used to wipe away the droplets that fell out. I saw you breathe away the desire to cry, and my heart broke as you once again sat, bouncing knees, searching eyes, and curled shoulders.

I saw you see me when I walked up, I saw hope rise in your eyes and I want to tell you joy rose in mine because if no one sees you, sister, I'll do my best to always see you. I'll cross the crowd to hear your questions, and with my limited perspective and resources, I will work with you to solve the problems that have you frantically searching for someone to recognize your pain. I recognize your pain, it boils me that the prejudice against your melanin denies the world their culpability in your grief. They owe you their patient eye contact and compassionate ears, they owe you all the things I see you needing and wanting.

Sister, I see you, and I'll do my best to teach them how to love a black woman so our daughters will never have to be invisible.

Much Love from your fellow brown-skinned girl.

The Letter to a Black woman is a series of fictionalized accounts of my real encounters with strangers who remind me of the vulnerability, strength, and courage it takes to walk through life wearing skin shades ranging from sienna to cocoa brown and near onyx black. It is my hope that it inspires humanity to see bla

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