This post was contributed by Stephan Brown.
Dear Inner City Kid,
When you were born, your parents wanted nothing but the best for you. They worked multiple jobs from sunrise to sunset to support you. Your mom cleaned toilets, offices, and homes, and your dad handled loading and unloading dangerous cargo that could end his life if not done correctly.
You were mad that your birthday fell in December because you had to choose to receive your gift on your birthday or Christmas, but little did you know that your parents skipped dinner for weeks to save up for that game console you talked about all year.
You watched sitcoms that depicted middle class white suburban families. You craved that for yourself, wanting to achieve this goal set in front of you without realizing that the system was never designed for you to reach this “utopia.” In the process, you lashed out at your parents, not seeing that they had spent their whole existence making sure that YOU had a better life. They made it possible for you to even dream that the ‘sitcom’ life was within reach.
When you became a teenager, society forced you to choose between two options; a life of violence or trying to better yourself. When you chose the latter, you suffered a great deal of emotional/physical abuse from your peers and educators, from an educational system that was set up for you to fail. Misunderstanding where these issues arose from, you felt separate from your community, disliking your people instead of the society that automatically profiled you from birth.
Moving out of college and into the workforce, you saw no representation in your field. In every internship or job, you were one of the few, if not the only, black person, and this was true across cities and states and companies. The higher you moved, the more alone you felt. You realized that your sense of isolation didn’t come from the community; it came from a system that never prepped the black individual to be in these positions of power.
You hurt. You realized that you were lucky to get out, but so many others were not. Higher education is expensive, and as a first-generation student, you had to figure out how to navigate your initial steps into adulthood by yourself. It wasn’t your parents’ fault; they had never even had the chance to get to this point in the journey. The system which should have been guiding and ushering you along left you to fumble, hoping that you would fail like so many others so that their status quo would remain protected.
Today, you understand how important it is to have Black representation in the media, and you know how seeing more Black leaders in power can impact your community’s growth and well being. You know that the fight for justice and equality is only just beginning, and you understand the power that our community has when we come together.
Strive for more. Constantly grow. Be an example for your community.
Meet Stephan: My name is Stephan Brown, and I’m a social media manager. I’m from Philly, but I currently live in LA. I traveled to 20+ countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia. I love going to the countries less explored. Sloths are my life, and Philadelphia cheesesteaks are what I live off. I live life day by day, and I’m king at going with the flow. I consider myself a global citizen, but I’m working on becoming a global leader. Follow my adventures on Instagram!