I Love Myself – A Love Note to Black Children By Charlie Costict

A New York city park in the spring. A family, parents and two boys spending time together. A father hugging his son.

I love myself. I love being Black. I am loved. I am strong. I am smart. I am great. I am different. I like being different. These are things I want you to tell yourself every day. Every Black boy and every Black girl. Don’t grow too fast. Don’t be so distant. We must grow together. We must build together. We can learn from you and you can learn from us. The world is changing and we must try our best to adapt.

Tell us what makes you happy. Tell us what makes you scared. How do you feel about being Black? Do you understand what being Black means? It means greatness. It means excellence. It means people will be jealous. They will lie on you. They will try to bully you. Do you know why people bully? Because they are punks. They’re scared of you. They want to be like you but they can’t. You are one of a kind. You will never be ugly. Light or Dark, Skinny or Big, Short or Tall, Able or Disabled. You’re are beautiful.

Make sure they see you happy. Show that smile. Make sure they see how proud you are. Proud to be Black. Black is beautiful. Black is strong. Black is powerful. Black is original. People want to know what makes us so special. You should show them. What do you want to be when you grow up? Who are you going to let stop you? NOBODY. Some people won’t believe in you but you know what? YOU got to believe in you. Do good for your parents. Do good for your grandparents. Do good for all the Black people you see around you. Everybody will be proud of you.

We want you to be happy and we want you to be safe. Be careful around strangers. Some strangers will pretend to be your friend. Not every kid is a friend. Not every grownup is a friend. Ask your parents who can you trust. Trust is important. If you can’t trust them, don’t talk to them. If you do not trust them, they shouldn’t touch you. If you don’t trust them, they don’t have permission.

Honesty is important too. Be honest with yourself first. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be mad. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be nervous. Be open about your feelings. Tell people how you feel. People cannot help you if you do not share your feelings. Your family, your teachers, your friends are all here to help you. We all know how it is because we used to be young like you. We used to be kids who laugh and cry. We used to be nervous and scared.

When you look in the mirror I want you to say to yourself. “I love myself”. “I love being Black”. “I am loved”. “I am strong”. “I am smart”. “I am great”. “I am different”. “I like being different”. “I am Beautiful”. “Black is Beautiful”