Yesterday, Half of All American Children Were Told that Their Lives Don’t Matter.

Yesterday, half of all American children were told that their lives don’t matter. They were told by the television, by their president, by their neighbors, that they are responsible for ruining American greatness.

I’m not being dramatic. When you scream “Make America Great Again” for four years and then show up at the Capitol en masse with confederate flags, your message is clear.

And American children are watching. Over fifty percent of children in America are non-white. And they know what that flag means.

Yesterday those children were told, once again, that America was great when people who look like them were violently oppressed, systemically killed, and legally classified as less than fully human.

Children normalize their environments. It’s an instinct. A survival tactic. They have the ability to turn a world of chaos and trauma into a viable reality and keep growing. But they shouldn't have to.

No child of color should ever have to internalize the message they heard yesterday or normalize living in a world in which they are constantly told they are the problem.

Yet in this country, they are forced to do so time and fucking time again. They are forced to build resilience to this kind of trauma, and when they grow up, the onus of making progress and changing our society is placed on their shoulders.

We cannot go on this way. White America — and especially the faction of it that has been brought to the fore by Trumpism — ought to be ashamed. How dare we not be outraged that A MAJORITY of our children are forced to deal with this trauma? Think about it. What thoughts did you have about your racial identity when you were 14? …Right.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We cannot be afraid of radical change in this country. It is vital that we do not write off yesterday’s events as just a few delusional crazies who do not represent America or even their “party.” There are millions of Americans who believe that what we saw yesterday was reckless, perhaps, but was based in righteousness. Yesterday it was made abundantly clear, yet again, that radical reconstruction of our institutions and our culture is the only way forward. Continuing to bottle up the sins of this nation and push them away is not working. It has never worked. The bottle is overflowing and attempts to put the cap back on are violent.

We must admit that this country was not built to be a safe home for all of its citizens. And we must aggressively elect leaders who have the ability and the will to act as architects in the construction of a new home. A bigger, safer home with windows that face the sun.

Freelance Writer for Nonprofits and Social Justice Initiatives |

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